Posts Tagged ‘Organic Gardening’

Heirloom Tomato and Pepper Seedlings sprouted!

I planted my tomato seedlings on January 15th just before we went skiing and left them under light. I used something similar to this Hydrofarm Germination Station with Heat Mat to keep the soil mix warm and moist.  The soil mix I used was one from Burpee that I found at Lowes called “Organic Seed Starting Mix”.  I mixed in a bit of perlite and moistened the mix before planting my seeds and covering the tray with the plastic dome cover.  We were gone for 10 days and had someone stop by to check the moisture of the soil.  The tray comes with a pad which lines the bottom and soaks up the water for slower release so she only had to add about 1L of water to the tray over the 10 days we were gone.

As soon as we returned home, I was pleased to see almost everything had sprouted.  On February 2nd, I potted up the tomato seedlings into 4″ round pots using a fresh mix of starter soil and perlite.  I did the usual method of planting them up to the bottom of the cotyledon leaves and then stuck them in the cold upstairs bedroom.  I was attempting to give them the “cold treatment”, however after I did some additional reading, the cold treatment for tomatoes is supposed to be just as soon as the cotyledon leaves appear and before the first real set of leaves show up.  Next year I will be more deliberate in my planting and I will give them a 10 – 15 day cold treatment before the first leaves appear.  They got about 5 days of cold treatment before I realized my mistake and just opened the vents and door to my upstairs growing room.  They’ll enjoy some nicer warm weather until they make it into the garden next month.

We decided to pot up our pepper plants on February 9th.  I used the same organic starter mix, perlite, and a very small amount of organic bone meal.  I have two trays of 18 – 3″ square pots for my peppers and I used about 2Tbsp bone meal for each tray.  These plants should continue to grow well until they make it out to the garden early to mid April.

Since I have been very stingy with pictures in the past, I hope you will enjoy the pictures of my potted up plants.

 

Starting my garden for 2012

It’s sad but I’m getting the garden started late this year.  I intended to get it started earlier but some weather delays coupled with some availability of digging equipment pushed it back to mid/late may.

Our first year
…of gardening was 2010.  My mom came down from Branson and helped us build a 4’x16′ raised bed cinder block garden.  She heard about a gardening technique that a man named Len Pense from the Springfield Missouri area.  I purchased his downloadable manual which covered a lot of what you need to know to make these raised beds work so.. we built one bed.  I learned several things my first year:

#1 – Indeterminate tomatoes grow big – HUGE – in these beds.  I put two plants at one end of what I’ll call Bed #1 and they took off.  I made the mistake of planting two tomatoes together and buying the ‘big size’ tomato cages made of concrete reinforcement wire.  These cages are about 1.5′ in diameter and 5′ tall – great for most gardens – not for this one.  By the end of the growing season, both tomato plants were overflowing out the top and fell over.

#2 – I hate squash bugs.  I first saw the squash bugs and thought – eh.. no big deal – gardens are supposed to have bugs right?  No dummy – gardens are supposed to have worms.  The only reason most bugs show up is for dinner.  Thinking that gardens were supposed to have bugs, I paid these cute little white creatures no mind.  My yellow squash were the first plants to start to die followed by my beloved Zucchini.  I though.. what on earth would cause these plants to just die – was I not watering them enough? Watering too much?  No.. these white critters were now brown and there were even more little white critters … they were having dinner on my plants!!  Into the garbage heap and out to the street they went.

I learned several other lessons but those were the big ones.. oh.. and building raised bed cinder block gardens was challenging at best – especially when you have to dig out a hill to make it level.

Our second year
…started out pretty good.  I took some of the lessons I learned and tried to apply them:

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