“Hoop House” Glides Open And Closed

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This is a great idea. A hoop house that is easy to move. Especially for our area that has early and late frosts.

FARM SHOW – “Hoop House” Glides Open And Closed.

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Onions are up and Hot Peppers planted

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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.

More Interesting Trivia

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More Interesting Trivia

Indeterminate tomatoes can grow very tall although not as big as the one at Epcot Center. I’ve seen pictures of a twenty foot tomato plant but I believe it was grown somewhere warm in the south. Indeterminates will grow continuously unless killed by frost or disease.

The world’s largest tomato tree was grown in the experimental greenhouse at Walt Disney World Resort. It produced over 32,000 tomatoes in the first 16 months after it was planted, and holds the record for the most tomatoes in a single year, according to the Guinness Book of World Records. Huang, from Shenyang, China, discovered the plants in Beijing, China, and after meeting with scientists responsible for those plants he brought the seeds to Epcot. The plant’s single vine grows tens of thousands of golf ball-sized tomatoes which are harvested and served at restaurants across Walt Disney World Resort. According to what I’ve read, It is grown conventionally in a container not hydroponically. Remember too, that it is grown in a greenhouse with constant attention and lots of fertilizer, most likely beyond the scope of the home gardener, even with a greenhouse.

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

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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.

Starting Seeds Under Lights in the House

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Starting Seeds Under Lights in the House

This is a shelving rack with ordinary fluorescent lights hovering just above flats full of tomato plants. The lights need to be close to provide light and warmth otherwise the plants will get leggy

Starting Tomatoes and Peppers From Seed

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Starting Tomatoes and Peppers From Seed

When growing for your home garden, start seeds 8 weeks prior to the last frost date. Always use sterile seed starting mix and sterile pots. Buy them new every year or sterilize used pots with a 10% bleach solution. Sometimes I run mine through the dishwasher on the top rack and toss a little bleach in before I start the wash cycle (damping off can be a real problem if you don’t.)

Place the seeds on top of the medium; cover with about 1/4” inch of mix and press down with your hands to smooth. Sprinkle with water from a “gentle” watering can to avoid washing the seeds away. I then fill my flats with hot water until they start floating, they will absorb this.

Put them in a warm place. Mine go under ordinary fluorescent lights, about an inch away from the flats, in the dining room. The heat from the lights keep it warm. (You can use bottom heat such as a heating mat or the top of refrigerator if you like.) Bottom water as needed, don’t let them dry out. In about a week you should start to see germination. Grow them under the lights until you see the first true leaves, a pair of true leaves. Transplant into larger pots.

Peppers seem to take forever to germinate, sometimes as much as 3 weeks. Tomatoes can be up as early as 4 days from planting.

Key points for maximum success:
sterile seed starting mix
sterile pots
warm location for germination
water from the bottom
good ventilation

These basic instructions work for just about every seed you want to start in pots to get a jump on the season. I will post more on starting different kinds of seeds and their needs in other posts so stay tuned.

Truly Exhausted but Triumphant

So, yesterday, March 25, I planted around 4000 tomato seeds with the help of two friends, Heidi Eutsler, Kathy Kjelgaard and my lovely husband, Steve. It’s not back breaking (unless you count hunched over for hours) but when you are doing 168 plus varieties, it’s a lot of work. I use a sterile seed germinating mix and sterile containers. This cuts down on the problem of damping off. On Friday, Saturday and Sunday, I transplanted 2000 babies (tomato plants). Now that’s back breaking! Friday night it got really cold and the two heaters we had in the greenhouse didn’t cut the mustard and when I checked on them the next morning, they looked like canned spinach. Not a good thing. I lost 300 plants. The next night, we put in 4 heaters, (space heaters) and ti worked like a charm. Good thing since I had spent the day transplanting. Today, I am going to transplant pepper plants. 

Tomatoes Are Up!

Sunday, the first of babies started showing up. I’ts amazing, we check several times a day hoping to see a shoot and nothing. The next morning you look and  lo and behold they are there! The odd thing is that the peppers have only shown one volunteer, a giant marconi. It is the only one and they were planted at the same time as the tomatoes on the third of March, I think it was. As for outside, there are some yellow anenomes that are cheerfully blooming in the garden. After a tour of the garden beds I see a whole row of garlic that we missed and an onion that are about 3 inches high. No asparagus yet although I do see the tips of the rhubarb. 

In the greenhouse, I have cabbage “Copenhagen” that I transplanted into cell packs. I’m thinking that I can put them outside since they can take quite a bit of cold. The hollyhocks and geraniums have been transplanted in cell packs and the alyssum and lobelia will be next. One of our cats got into the greenhouse and there are big footprints in some of the single cell starter packs. I am not happy.

Still it is wonderful to go into my little greenhouse and and see the blooms of the geraniums that I carried over last winter. One of my miniature roses is even starting to bloom!