Strawberries from the Garden

Strawberries from the Garden

Feb 19, 2012

First Seedlings of 2012

First Seedlings
I planted my seedlings on the 12th and one week later, I already have seedlings coming up in the trays that I used the seed heat mats. I think I may have to look into purchasing a couple more. Right now, I just rotated trays so that the ones that have not sprouted yet are now on a heat mat.

As the seedlings grow, I will slowly lift the lights higher so that the lights are always about 2 or 3 inches above them. This will help to keep them from getting too tall, too quick and they will develop into stronger plants.

Light/Hood Over Seed Tray

Right now, it is the cabbages and Pak Choy that have started to germinate and produce seedlings. I have one Cherokee Purple Tomato seedling at this point. The tomatoes, eggplants, and peppers usually take a little longer to germinate and grow into seedlings. I have the tomatoes on a heat mat, I'm curious to see what kind of difference that makes.
Cabbage Seedlings
I got my heat mats a couple of months ago from Amazon for only about $12.99. It seems now I can only find them for about 14.99. (I knew I should have bought more than 2!) Right now, I'm content moving them around.

The lights that I use are for plants and I have them in hoods that you would normally place over the top of an aquarium. My husband helped me to figure out a way to attach them with wing nuts, washers, and small metal brackets. This allows me to move them up and down as needed.

I hope to plant the rest of my seeds I need right now either later today or tomorrow. If I plant a little each week, the rotation of plants will be ready and healthy by the time it is time for outdoor planting. You have to remember to allow time for hardening off your plants. If you don't do it slowly, you will lose plants and/or set back some of your plants. I always plant a few more than I need. You never know when there is going to be a mishap and it's nice to have a few extra to share with family and friends. I never have trouble finding someone to take extra tomato, eggplant, or pepper plants!

Feb 12, 2012

Seed Starting Has Begun!

Today is the day I finally started my garden for 2012. I pulled out the seed packets, seed starting mix, my garden notebook, and all of the odds and ends that tend to make seed starting a little easier.

I am most concerned about getting my seeds started for plants that perform better if they have some size to them when set out into the garden. So, I focused first on my tomatoes, peppers, and eggplant. In looking at my seeds, I realized there are a few that I never got around to ordering that I need to get within the next week or so.

I have Early Italian Purple Garlic on order that will ship late March. By that time, I may be able to start some of my cole crops outside or in the cold frame. Who knows with how the weather has been this year!

In terms of starting seeds, it is well worth the investment! Once you have your basic set-up, trays with light set-up, it is really not too expensive. I find that I like being able to have more control over the varieties of vegetables that I plant in my garden. Starting my own seeds allows me to have that control. Using seeds also allows you to plant more heirloom plants which is more economical. One, cheaper than buying plants and two, you can save seeds from year to year.
My seed starting for today consisted of the following;
  • Golden California Wonder Pepper
  • Fish Pepper
  • Pole, Black Krim Tomato
  • Black Krim Tomato
  • San Marzano Tomato
  • Cherokee Purple Tomato
  • Long Purple Eggplant
  • Rosa Bianca Eggplant
  • Black Beauty Eggplant
  • Genovese Basil
  • Cilantro
  • Italian Red of Florence Bunching Scallion
  • Paris Island Romaine
  • Bright Lights Swiss Chard
  • Extra Dwarf Pak Choy
  • Brunswick Cabbage
  • Tango Green Celery
  • Large Bottle Mix Gourd
I have a new cat this year, Pica,  he's only 6 months old and boy has he been curious about what I am doing with the seed trays! He has discovered my plant stand is a great place to hang out. Now the fun begins! Keeping the kitty out of the seed trays!