Friday, February 4, 2011

Seed Starting

Finally got around to buying some decent seedling trays this year and what a difference! These are really solid and should last many years (unlike the cheapies that we'd been using that sprung leaks on the first use...sigh). Wish we could afford to buy more, but at $12 a pop our limit was four this year.

We usually order most of our seeds from Fedco, they are non-GMO and probably the least expensive of all the companies we order from, but this year decided to try some varieties from Baker Creek. I also found an organic seed business based out of Fresno that carried several 'heat tolerant' tomato varieties, so we are adding them to our list of acceptable seed companies.

I mixed up a big batch of seed-starting medium using 3 parts peat moss, 3 parts vermiculite, and 1 part potting soil (amounts are not exact). We bought 72-cell trays for the tomatoes since we need so many and the peppers are in a single 48-cell tray (not pictured).


Planted 204 tomato plants total ~108 paste, 90 slicing, 6 cherry...and 12 tomatillos.

Under the lights and on a heating mat for faster germination.

With a timer for the lights and a temperature control for the mat we have quite the high tech system here. Actually, the timer is a convenience and the temp control came with the mat (and is kind of useless).

The peppers were actually planted Jan. 15th and sat on top of the fridge until they sprouted (I didn't want to use extra electricity until I absolutely had to) and then were moved down into the cellar. The tomatoes were planted on the first of February.


Peppers are VERY slow growing and that extra 2 weeks will be needed later in the season so we can harvest them at the same time as the first tomatoes.....salsa here we come!


12 comments:

Lynda said...

Just lovely! I love your seed starting set up.

MAYBELLINE said...

Holy tomato! That's a lot of tomato plants. Good luck.

Kris Watson said...

Aw geeze. I just give up. You are so awesome, Maureen. No, really. You are.

Maureen said...

Thanks Gals.....

Lynda, your blog is amazing....mind if I put it on my blogroll??? (hubby went to Chico state, we love that area of CA)

Maybelline, mostly the big number is a huge margin for error. Our plants didn't do so well last year so we're planting a lot more this year....just in case:)

Kris, right back at you girlfriend....really!

Mike said...

108!? What are you preparing for, Exeter's version of the La Tomatina. I wish we had been able to grow just 8 tomatoes. I think we'll be better prepared this year. We'll see.

Maureen said...

....actually Mike, that's 214 total tomatoes (108 of which are paste).

We want to have enough to eat fresh all summer as well as preserving for the winter. Our goal is to make ALL our own tomato sauce, diced tomatoes, salsa, and catsup for the year...so we need quite a bit. But if it turns out to be too many, we'll just have more to share:)

Mike said...

Ok, then you'll definitely have enough for Exeter's La Tomatina. Looking forward to when you open up the Garver Farmer's Market. :-)

MommaofMany said...

Inspiration. Pure inspiration!

Jennie said...

Nice set up! I need to get my grow stuff set up really soon. Luckily I'm in zone 4 Iowa, so I have a couple more weeks to get things dusted off and plugged in. :-)

Emily said...

I love your seed starting trays, where did you get them?

Life With The Elf said...

I am wondering about the sourcing for the trays as well. We have used some inexpensive ones from the garden sop for four years now , but they are on their last rodeo I am afraid. I want to jot down your source to order for next year!

Maureen said...

I'm sorry I didn't see these comments earlier and wasn't sent the email (thanks Verizon) but here is the link to the company where I purchased the trays and the inserts. Their prices seem reasonable and I am loving the stronger trays. They also carry all kinds of different insert sizes which was helpful in customizing our system.

http://homeharvest.com/propagationflatsdomesinserts.htm