Stretching for the Light

A week and a half after planting the sprouted seeds, there is rapid growth happening. Stems are stretching and two little seed leaves are beginning to unfurl.


If it appears that the tomato seeds were defective because the leaves don’t look like the tomato leaves usually on garden tomatoes, no worries. Those leaves are yet to come. These are the seed leaves that feed the little plant until its big girl leaves appear.


If you are interested in using this process as an object lesson, get out your nature journals. Record in drawings or words, what you see. Color, texture, how many leaves, the shape of the leaves, is the shape like the leaves on tomatoes or peppers you grew last year (?), what the stem looks like, what the root looked like (before you planted it).

Tomatoes grow the fastest. Peppers and basil are slower growers. The tomatoes especially will begin to stretch towards the light. Already they know what they need to grow and flourish and they are moving toward it, wanting more, craving more. May we be like these little plants, knowing what we need to flourish and grow and stretch toward it.

Sunlight isn’t as intense at this time of year. I could get out my plant lights to keep them from stretching…but… I don’t mind leggy tomatoes. Later on, when I plant them in the garden, I use this legginess to my advantage. More on that later.


Now and then, turn the greenhouses to encourage the seedlings to straighten up. It is not a big deal if they are growing sideways though. As the sun gets higher in the sky (more intense) the drastic slanting will lessen. Don’t stress about it.

Check to make sure lids are tight. There should be condensation on the sides when the sun heats them up during the day. This ‘rains’ back down on the plants for a nice greenhouse effect. If it doesn’t seem like a moist, humid environment inside, be sure to keep things watered.

Here is what I rig up for my seedlings. A quick assemble, yet a bit precarious. It eliminates my weekly, spa- soaking, massaging baths – Ha! This is a far better use of the whirlpool tub!


Some of my seeds still haven’t sprouted. The parsley and caraway are still sitting there. Some of the seeds are blackening. Maybe the seeds were too old or maybe they just need more time. We’ll see.