URGENT! Okay not really but before we start this post, I just want to give another reminder to everyone who has recently started seeds to KEEP THEM WARM! I had planted a few seeds and brought them to my sister’s house a few weeks ago where there is more room and no cat, but regretted to mention that they needed to stay as warm as possible, and forgot that her house is on the cool side. About half the seeds did not germinate. I cannot be certain that it was the temperature, but to reduce your risk of disappointment please keep those seeds in the warmest place in your house until they germinate!
Let’s be clear: I am not an authority on tomato cultivation, and you should probably find some other sources of information to supplement what you learn from this blog. Like I’ve previously said, I won’t give you any bad advice that will kill your plants, but there’s a lot I don’t know, and probably a lot of people out there who are better at growing tomatoes than I am.
If you’ve got questions, I am happy to try and answer them in the comments on any post. I’ve also compiled this (not comprehensive) list of other places you can look for advice and information. Most of these have a Saskatchewan/prairie focus.
Gardening at University of Saskatchewan – I don’t think anyone would disagree with me that this is probably the best resource we have in the province for gardening advice. They’ve got tons of free information, including a tomato growing page, affordable classes and certificate credit courses, and an active Facebook page.
City of Saskatoon – The City of Saskatoon’s Healthy Yards page has a big list of great resources and links for getting started with gardening at home, including boulevard gardening which I’m a big fan of! There are also a variety of community gardens in Saskatoon. Note – I am unsure which of these initiatives (especially planned workshops) will be going ahead this summer due to COVID-19 restrictions.
Shifting Roots – This is a local gardening blog based out of Saskatoon (coincidentally run by a childhood friend). She’s got a free downloadable tomato growing guide which you may want to grab.
Plant Clubs – There are a variety of local organizations dedicated to promoting horticultural initiatives in Saskatoon (if you’re not in Saskatoon, your city likely has similar clubs). Probably the most relevant to tomato growing is the Saskatoon Horticultural Society (a membership also gets you discounts at most garden centres in the city). Depending on your overall gardening interests, you may find a good fit within the Saskatchewan Perennial Society (members get similar greenhouse discounts as the SHS) or the Native Plant Society; though tomatoes are neither perennials nor native plants, many lovers of perennials and native plants are also tomato fans.
Books and Magazines – There are a couple of gardening magazines that are focused on Canadian or prairie growing – The Gardener, and The Prairie Garden annual. I believe most gardening societies offer a discounted Gardener subscription with a membership, and back issues of The Prairie Garden can be ordered through their website or McNally Robinson (the 2019 issue is all about growing food). Speaking of, independent booksellers in Saskatoon are still doing business, just not open to the public! You can do curbside pickup or shipping from McNally, and Turning the Tide will deliver within Saskatoon for free. SaskBooks also has a couple of gardening books available and is shipping for free for the rest of April (I own and recommend both books showing up on that link).
Local Garden Centres – when in doubt, just give your favourite garden centre a call, email, or ask a question on their social media page. In my experience there are a lot of experts working at these places who are happy to share their knowledge and help you out.
Old People – seriously though, if you’ve got parents or grandparents who spent any time living on a farm, they’re probably gardening experts. While you might not be growing the same varieties as they are used to (you’ll have to pry the Early Girl seeds out of their cold, dead hands), they likely still know a thing or two.
As mentioned this list is by no means exhaustive. If I’ve missed something you think should be on here, let me know and I’ll happily add it!
This also concludes the Getting Started series! I hope you’re currently enjoying the wonder of germination, or will get to in the next few days…