Wednesday, May 6, 2009

Planting and Transplanting Seedlings

Approximately 4 weeks ago I started some seedlings for my vegetable garden. (That's how far behind I am--I'm just now putting it on here!) Gardening is not really my forte. I am a lover of the greenhouse and their perfect little plants, and have always been a bit intimidated at starting my own, so I never have until this year when I wanted to try out some heirloom seeds and in order to do that, I had to actually plant the seeds instead of run to the greenhouse and buy little plants. So I sent my husband to the store to get seed starting stuff and he came home with this: Jiffy seed starting kit. Super easy. Funny little hockey puck looking disks that you add water to and they expand into little dirt balls that you can plant seeds in. I had my kids help plant the seeds, which goes against my wanting-to-know-that-everything-was-done-exactly-like-I-wanted-it-to-be nature, but was good for them and we got the planting done super quick that way also. We had 2 different tomato varieties, 2 onion varieties, and 4 pepper varieties (really, I don't like peppers all that much, but I had ordered a seed pack that had all these peppers in it, so I'm planting them and then I'll use them in salsa or just dehydrate them at the end of the season--and my son learned that you don't plant hot pepper seeds and then lick your fingers!). Some of the seeds were packed for this year and some were from an old "survival seed" can that was packed for 2000 (yeah, that's 9 years ago). We colored flat toothpicks with markers and made a key that I put in my notebook so we'd know what dirt balls had what seeds in them.
Then I followed the directions that came with the Jiffy kits. I put them in a warm place out of direct sunlight with the lid on mostly until they sprouted, then had the lid cracked but still on for a while until the plants got taller, then took the lid off completely. I've put them in a window that gets morning sun now, and they've spent time outside also. Here are the little tomato plants at about 3 weeks old. These are actually the 9 year old ones. They've done pretty well. The 9 year old onions and peppers have not done well.The tomatoes have done so well, that they needed to be transplanted to bigger pots, and being the cheap frugal gal that I am, I opted for these FREE pots out of newspaper that the gals at Food Storage Made Easy demonstrated so well. My cup was not so easy to work with as theirs, but still turned out some fine cheap newspaper pots to put my little tomatoes in. And yeah, I buried them as deep as I could in the new pots. Apparently they will grow roots along the buried stem and be stronger, healthier, happier big tomato plants. (If you look real close, you can read small town USA news on my pot.)

I'm keeping them indoors for a couple more weeks until I'm sure it won't freeze again since I don't want to risk having them DIE after all the work I've put into them! Then I'd have to go to the greenhouse and buy tomato plants and not be able to play around with collecting the seeds this fall. That would be a bummer.

I also got a very cool book in the mail yesterday on growing and harvesting non-hybrid seeds called Seed to Seed. It is fantastically in depth--I got to spend some time with it today while in the doctor's waiting room. It covers every plant you could possibly want to grow in your garden (3/4 of them I've never even heard of) and how to plant, grow, and harvest seed from each of them. Pictures included, along with loads of information. Definitely recommended.


Anna said...

Another way to "recycle" and use "free" pots is to save the cardboard from you toilet paper rolls. you need a shallow pan to hold the dirt in at the bottom and you need to tie at least 6 together so they will keeps standing up and stay stable, but they do make nice freebie starter pots. Plus what else would you do with all that cardboard anyway?

Anonymous said...

I saw your comment on another blog, so I dropped by. From your supplier list I see some names I buy from as well. Strange how so many of the blogs I read and enjoy are from Utah.

Angela said...

Anna--I've seen those before! We could definitely make a slew of them with the amount of TP we go through around here!

Hermit--Glad to have you drop by! Hope you'll find some useful information here :)