So two little rays of light have emerged from the wreckage of my genesis garden.
Mr. Basil and Mr. Tomato were given two different homes in different cities. Mr. Tomato was left outside in his transplant pot for a day or two and then put in ground in a half shady environment. He's been looking really good despite not really 'hardening' him off and despite the fact that he was barely past the 'cotyledons' stage. I'll explain below.
Mr. Basil has been left in his transplant pot (with seepage holes cut at the bottom) and left in a nice sunny window. Again - he's getting sun about half the day. Mr. Basil has not sprouted too far past the first two 'cotyledon' leaves - having only gotten to four total. He has also become super leggy. 'Leggy' is when the stalk gets really long and bendy. I think we may even have to stake him and tie him off like a fully grown tomato plant!
Plants grown from seeds (are there any other kind?.... moving on) sprout what are called cotyledon. These are the first two, tiny leaves that come out of the earth. They usually look different from 'true leaves' and are apparently meant to get a boat load of nutrient into the plant until the true leaves grow and can actually maintain the photosynthesis.
So, it is apparently when these true leaves are good and growing that a seedling can be transplanted. Generally you'd want to wait until 3 or 4 of these true leaves have come out - but I didn't wait that long due to my do-over. Both plants are doing fine. Screw you conventions!
I also didn't 'harden off' Mr. Tomato. Basically this is a way of babying your plants to be able to grow outside without getting torched by the sun and weakened by harsh weather. Who knew plants were so high maintenance? (Actually.... I think I've learned that already.)
The best practice seems to be by placing the plants outside in the natural sun and air but in a shaded, protected area for a few hours a day until they acclimatize. Friggin' princesses.
Well Mr. Tomato got none of that treatment and he's still looking pretty stellar. The Lovely Landlords planted some cherry and beefsteak tomatoes and Mr. Tomato is a Roma so we're probably going to be giving away tomatoes like a bunch of old, Italian ladies in a few months.
Either that or rolling in pasta sauce and salsa....