Starting Seeds in March

This has to be the longest winter I can remember. In 2008 we had lots of snow but it didn’t stick around for 3 months as it has this year. We can’t even put up our third greenhouse yet due to snow on the ground! Did I mention it is March 3rd?

tomato-seeds-2tomato-seeds-racks

Above are pictures of our tomato babies, as yet unborn. There are approximately 5000 seeds in the various gray cells. We bottom watered them with almost a gallon of hot water for each flat on March 1st and then the were moved to the shelves under the lights. In about 7 days they will germinate. It’s actually quite exciting checking them everyday, most times twice a day, to see if they’ve raised their tiny, green heads.

tomato-seeds

This is a close up of some of the cells. I spent several hours every day spreading the tiny seeds in rows of 50 to 35 seeds in each cell. This year I even used tweezers to keep them orderly. Doing it over a couple days saved my back big time!

Once they get their first set of true leaves, I will transplant them into 3.5″ pots and they will go out into the greenhouses.

One very important tip when starting seeds: Use a sterile seed starting/germination mix. It will help tremendously in not getting damping off. Nothing is worse than seeing them lush and healthy one day and watching them fall over the next. Very sad. It doesn’t matter whether you are starting tomatoes or petunias in a greenhouse or inside your family home. Since I started using a sterile mix I haven’t had damping off. You can get it at NW Seed and Pet and possibly other big box stores.

Mucho Nacho Jalapeños and Emerald Fire Jalapeños -A Germinators Dream! (at least this year)

Every once in a while you meet a plant that you really like. This year, mine is the Mucho Nacho Jalapeño and the Emerald Fire Jalapeño, Peppers are notoriously hard to germinate, especially the superhots (Carolina Reapers, Ghost and Trinidad Scorpions) and the hot (Tabasco, Habanero, Serrano, Hungarian Yellow Wax etc.) to mildly hot (Jalapeños, Numex Big Jim, Anaheims, Poblanos etc.) Some of the hot peppers can take up to 4 weeks or more to germinate and then if you get 50% you think you are doing pretty good.

 

mucho-nacho-jalapeno2Mucho Nacho is a new one for me this year. It is supposed to be hotter, fatter, longer, more prolific, well, you get the picture, than a regular Jalapeño. It was the first one to germinate and it was very happy, vibrant and healthy. Lush. I can’t say enough about it.

emerald-fire-jalapeno

The Emerald Fire was a close second. Germination on both of these were close to 90 – 95% which is really good. Nice strong stems, beautiful true leaves, easy to handle when transplanting into 3.5” pots.

For those of you who germinate your own seeds in a greenhouse you can understand how happy I was to handle these guys. Some plants, especially flowers practically require magnifying glassed and tweezers!

jalapeno-green-pepperMucho Nacho Jalapeños – 68-70 Days

An impressive Jalapeño from Mexico, large, 4” fruits are fatter, thicker, heavier, hotter, and up to a full inch longer than regular Jalapeños. They start off green and mature to red. Vigorous and prolific, they set heavy loads about a week earlier than is typical of Jalapeños.

ad8bf754-f0b0-446d-992d-573a80710745_1000Emerald Fire Jalapeño – 90 Days

These hot peppers are good for salsa, pickling, grilling, and stuffing, Extra-large, thick-walled, crack-resistant peppers, plump and delicious. Emerald Fire is very prolific and there will be enough peppers to share with your friends and family!

Winner of a 2015 All-America Selection, Emerald Fire is compact enough for patio containers, but may need some support to hold up all the peppers! Easy to grow, standing up to heat, humidity, and refuses to crack. Long season but worth the wait!

Carolina Reaper, Ghost Pepper, and Trinidad Scorpion Have Been Seeded!

I seeded my super hots and my “just plain hot” peppers over the last couple of days.

The superhots: Carolina Reaper, purportedly the hottest pepper in the world, the Ghost pepper, aka Bhut Jolokia, and the Trinidad Scorpion can take up to 8 weeks to germinate.

The normal hot peppers (ones that are not reported to set your head on fire) that I planted are Thai, two kinds of Habanero, Serrano, Cayenne, Hungarian Hot Wax and Chinese Five Color can also be slow. I do know they are slow to grow, hence my starting them in January. Next week I will sow the rest of them. The sweet bells, non sweet bells and the medium hots like Jalapenos, Poblanos etc.

The funny thing is that I am of hispanic descent yet I don’t like anything even remotely spicy! Wait, I do have a caveat to that statement. I will use the smallest piece of jalapeno that I can get away with in my salsas for flavor. And I mince it to dust at that.

Carolina_Reaper_Pilemaya pepper chinese five color hungarian yellow wax Trinidad-Scorpion-Hot-Pepper

Cabin Fever Blues: Longing for Warmer Weather

Am spending the day ordering tomato and pepper seeds. I look outside and it is gray and dreary and cold. Doing this tasks makes me long for warmer temps, green grass, the warmth of the sun on my face.

Who knew? Every year I get tired of gardening and watering and thinking up ways to use my produce and start thinking about calling in an asphalt company. Then, long about Christmas, the seed catalogs start arriving and I start dreaming.

There is a new (to me) kind of nasturtium out, called Phoenix.51477-PK-P1

It’s petals have raggedy edges. The seed came a couple of days age. Looking forward to trying it. The first time I grew them, they were a major aphid magnet. Yuck. I tried again and haven’t had any problems since and they are on my list of favorite flowers now. I also love the variegated Alsaka

.SONY DSC

Nifty Way to Plant an Accessible Kitchen Garden

Aside

1599072_10151904029761861_1289288943_o

Here is a picture I saw on facebook about a different way to garden. The only caveats: the bag will weigh a lot so make sure that where you put it, is where you want it (you might try putting it on a cart with wheels if you want to move it to catch sun) and that what you put it on, is able to hold it’s weight. Also, PUT DRAINAGE HOLES UNDERNEATH, LOTS OF THEM!

Try shallow rooted veggies like radishes, round carrots, lettuce, spinach, beets etc.

Onions are up and Hot Peppers planted

ImageImageImageearly jalapeno

Onions are up! Impatiens are up! Snapdragons and lobelia too! It’s nice to see signs of spring, even if it’s only under lights in the house.  Oh, and I have Yugoslavian Buttercrunch coming up too.

I tried something different with my onions, I planted them individually in plug trays since they don’t seem to like being transplanted at a young age.

Yesterday I planted hot peppers, Hot peppers are notoriously slow to germinate and then sometimes they are spotty. Depends on the freshness of the seed and the variety. First I soaked them in weak tea. Pain in the butt to separate them, stuck to my fingers. Here is the list: Arbol, Bhut Jolokia (yes, the infamous ghost), Cayenne, Early Jalapeno, Habanero, Hungarian Yellow Wax, Maules Red Hot, Pasilla, Pepperoncini, Serrano, Tabasco, Anaheim, Shishitso

I don’t like hot peppers although I have been know to use a smidgen of jalapeno in my salsa.

We’ve had snow and cold weather until the pineapple express rolled in last night. Now it’s 45 degrees. Melting all our snow.

First Seeds of the Year

Aside

I planted Candy onions in plug trays and Walla Walla Sweets in a broadcast method, the way I have always done them. We will see which does better when it comes to transplanting.

I also seeded some Lisanthus, Lobelia, Crytal Palace and Blue Wings,  pink Brugmansia, snapdragons and several varieties of Impatiens, including the uber expensive rosebud type.

Whew! Tomato Transplants Are All Done, 6500!

Took me almost four days but they have been relocated to their own little patch of heaven, a 3.5 inch pot! Better yet, I got the website up and updated with all of my 2013 varieties, all 161 of them. My peppers have been updated too, 41 varieties. If you are interested in tomatoes and peppers, check it out. There is a lot of info on how to plant them and grow them to great heights. Plus, you will be amazed how many kinds and colors there are.

the website address is:   http://www.thetomatolady.com

Watering Tomato and Pepper Plants

Image

Watering Tomato and Pepper Plants

After an initial watering from the top, we bottom water so as not to encourage damping off. They will wick it up from the bottom getting right to where it needs to go – the roots.