What is this blog and/or any mention of The Ever-Growing List? Explanation.

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Grow, babies, grow!

What is this? Explanation.

Item 105! Successfully Sowing and Harvesting My Own Veggies!

The easiest way to sow seeds for vegetables like tomatoes or peppers (or anything!) is to get Peat Moss Pellets. They usually come in a starter plastic greenhouse. Walmart offers a good deal at a $6 for a 72-Pellet greenhouse. To check out information on Peat Pellets, take a spin around Google or have a quick look for a basic idea of what they are.

My family particularly enjoys tomatoes and peppers in our summer garden, so instead of buying the plants around May, my dad usually starts with Peat Moss Pellets. You need to start tomatoes and peppers indoors, around March, to eliminate danger of frost damage. We're in Planting Zone 6b, so our last frost of the year is advised around the end of April. Then we usually transport our plants to the garden in the beginning of May.

Last year I neglected my own Peat Pellets, so this year I branched out and made the effort to keep up with watering. It has only been a week or two, but so far, so good. In my first greenhouse, I'm growing Tomatoes, Peppers, Chives, Summer Savory, Sweet Basil, and Spinach.

The Spinach is an experiment. It comes up really fast, so it's nice to have in the greenhouse. It gives me a boost of confidence to see sprouts two days after planting.

1. This is about how small the pellets come. You're supposed to add warm water water, usually about two tablespoons (1/8th of a cup) per pellet. I started with a spoon, then a dropper, but my patience was thinning, so I started to toss four in the correct amount of water and let them expand slightly.

2. After the pellet is expanded, you should make room for your seeds. Then you'll want to cover it back up and firm the soil/peat blend.

  • Never just put one seed in each pellet. You should use 2-3 seeds, sometimes 4. If all sprout, you'll eventually trim back the others to make room for one stronger, larger stalk.
  • Always look at how far down (or Google) how deep your seed should be. You don't want to bury a tomato seed an inch deep. A half an inch is plenty deep.

Pellets and expanded pellets.Eventually, your whole tray will be finished, if you so choose to use it all at once. You'll want to keep the top on until your sprouts start. You need to prop the top/cover of your greenhouse once your first sprouts are about 1/4 inches high. When all of your seeds sprout, you can take it off completely.

Spinach after 2 days. It's good to plant something that harvests quickly, even if it won't produce a large crop. It'll keep you paying attention to your greenhouse.

The tomatoes after about a week and a half. Eventually you'll want to transfer each pellet into a larger pot with soil. I just use plastic cups until they're ready for planting.

Here you can see the Chives, Summer Savory, and Basil. They sprouted around the time the tomatoes did, if not a day after.

Update on Item 102: It's going very well. All leaves are up, hedges trimmed, gardens in full form, new dirt, etc., etc..

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