Tomatoes in my Tub

There is still snow on the ground here, but soon it will be time to start the tilling and planting for the garden! I can't wait. I've been longing for the taste of fresh from the garden veggies.

This year I am trying to start many of my plants from seed. I tried this on a small scale last year, and was not successful. I think my error was in not properly hardening off my plants. This year I'm investing a little more time, and starting a lot more seeds. Awhile back I hinted to the project that I am now about to share. Do you remember what we are using for a seed starter?
Yes. Good memory. We've have turned our bathtub into a seed starter.
When we bought this house, the master bathroom needed quite a bit of TLC. We made some repairs, and started on a remodel. House projects are not top priority around here. They are superseded by farm and garden projects. The bath remodel went slowly. After being here for a summer, we realized that what would really be best for that space was a major re-haul involving removing the garden tub, expanding the laundry room, and creating a breezeway to a garage the currently does not exist.
Needless to say, that project has not even approached the top of the to do list yet. In the meantime, we are left with a very ugly bath room, and a garden tub that we do not use. I thought the tub would be the perfect place to start some seeds.

It was space we weren't using. It is an out of the way part of the house, and messes from the dirt and watering could simply be washed down the drain. Keeping in mind some tips learned from Phelan's Box and from the recent tutorial at Simple, Green, Frugal Co-op, we set out to turn the tub into a seed starter.
Using a gift card, we picked up two fluorescent shop lights and some ceiling hooks. Tim put the hooks in the ceiling. Then he attached the lights using twine. The lights were hung very low, and will be adjusted upwards as the plants grow. We used twine because it was freely available to us. If you have to buy something, chains may be a little easier to work with.

Next, we wanted to use something reflective on the bathtub sides, to help the plants get all the light they can. What you see in the photo is a solar blanket. This is an item that we once used on back packing trips. They aren't expensive, and this particular blanket, although still very reflective, was pretty much shot for use in backpacking. I cut the blanket in half so the bottom of the tub would not be covered and water could still drain.
I started some early plants; broccoli and Brussel sprouts. I intended to wait just a bit longer for the later plants, like tomatoes.
Shortly after getting everything set up I got an email from a friend asking me if I wanted over two hundred tomato plants. Two hundred? Well that is way more than I need, and they aren't exactly the variety I'd prefer, but I'm not about to pass up free plants.
I need to transplant these soon out of their plugs. Tim used the rest of the gift card to buy some more lights to put up on the sides of the tub. You may notice the tray of English Ivy. There is another of sweet potato vine. These were part of the free tomato deal. As long as I have room, I will keep them all growing, and perhaps sell the tomatoes and add some flowers to make planters to sell with the vines. Remember those log planters I made? I'm thinking of making some more.
I've also started a bit of lettuce that I am hoping we can eat this winter yet. Store bought lettuce just doesn't compare. Starting seeds and having growing plants helps to relieve a bit of my gardening itch. Now, to get the rest of my seed orders in!

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Tomatoes in my Tub + work