My wife is a kindergarten teacher and this year, as an end of year gift for the children, she wanted to give them each a small tomato plant to bring home on the last day of school.
She asked me to grow these as I already grow seedlings for our vegetable garden and annual flowers for our beds.
I haven't discounted the idea but I'm wondering if there might be some better options (my wife is open to this).
My reservations are:
- We are in zone 4/5 with a last frost date of May 10. I usually plant my tomatoes around this date to maximize the growing season but the last day of school is around the 23rd of June which seems late to plant tomato seedlings in the garden (particularly in Canada with a short growing season).
- Tomatoes seedlings seem like fragile plants. They will need to take a car ride, spend all day in a classroom and then some of these will be taking a ride on a school bus and may end up with a few bruises along the way.
- I always plant my tomato seedlings in small pots rather than plugs (because I haven't had success with plugs for tomatoes) and growing 19 tomatoes plus backups in case some die will take a lot of space in my small growing setup.
I want to know if the tomatoes are a good idea and if not I'm looking for suggestions. The plants would need to be tough to survive being badly handled during transport, easy to grow for non-gardeners, easy to start from seeds in plugs and ideally could be grown in a pot and be a fun plant for kids.
We're open to colorful annual flowers or culinary herbs. Two plants that came to mind are Mint and Marigolds (though I have no experience with the latter).