Thursday, February 25, 2010

seed starting 2010

Seeds stared last month that have been transplanted and moved into our greenhouse.
We had to replace a lot of our seeds this year because so many of our stock are old. I did a lot of research and was much more selective than in previous years. We ordered most of our seeds from Abundant Life Seed and from Territorial Seed. These two companies are owned by the same people and are based here in Oregon (actually in the Wilamette Valley like us). Abundant Life carries a slightly larger variety of OP and organic seeds, but Territorial carries them too. We also ordered a couple of plants that we won't receive until close to our last frost date.
The seeds arrived and it took everything I had not to rush into planting them immediately! We started our seeds near the middle of January. We did this last year as well and as long as we have the greenhouse to move them to when they get big enough, it seems to work well. Our tomato harvest last year started early and ran all summer and into the fall!
This year I planted 5 types of peppers (both sweet and hot), leeks, brussels sprouts, cauliflower, broccoli and kale. I also planted 5 types of tomatoes from store bought seeds and one type from the seeds I saved from last year. We had a delicious meaty tomato (I don't know the original type since our seedlings got tipped over and mixed up) that did very well for us. I saved some of the seeds last September and then planted them with the purchased seeds in January. So far, they appear to be doing just as well as the 'new' seeds!

Tomato seeds 'saved' from the last sauce batch. I let these 'ferment' or 'mold' in the containers, then I rinsed them and then dried them so that they could be used this year.

All of the seeds get started in our basement. We have a little tray that holds these peat inserts that you soak in water prior to planting. The tray then sits on a heating pad set to 'low' until they sprout. Once we see sprouting, we have a grow light on a timer that keeps them green. When we see the first set of 'real' leaves, they get transplanted (peat core and all) into peat pots and moved to the greenhouse. Lucky for us, the sun is still very low in the sky (if it shines at all), so the tiny seedlings can handle it. As we get closer to summer, we have to be more careful not to fry them! So far, everything is looking good. Out of 50 cells, only two did not sprout, so we are well on our way to having a garden again.

We will start more seeds of more types of veggies as we get closer to our last frost date (May 15th). It is still to early for many varieties. I'll also plant some swiss chard, peas and spinach directly in the garden in the next couple of weeks. I would have done this already except that I still haven't planned out what things will go where yet and I need to get that done first.

I can't wait for the first veggies of 2010!

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