Monday, 24 March 2014

New Seedlings, Jiffy Pellets and a Seed Schedule

Despite not having a greenhouse available this spring, I've gone ahead with starting some plants from seed already.  I suspect I am going to have problems in just a few weeks from now when many of them need to be transplanted into larger pots ... no idea where I'll put all of them at that point.

I have intentionally started less based on my experience last year (too many too soon).  But I still started quite a few ... and with winter never ending it seems, I'll still likely have some space issues to work out.  But I'll worry about that when it happens.

In the meantime, here is what I have started (the first batch is an update on a previous post):

A little over a month ago, I started some Brandwine and Black Krim heirloom tomatoes; these were from seeds I had saved from last year.  As it was the first time I have saved tomato seeds, I was anxious to see if I had been successful. No problem it seems; 5 weeks later and they are already about 4 inches tall.

I also started some sweet peppers - they take a really long time and are pretty tiny still.

The tomatoes and peppers started back in February are all under a fluorescent light set on a timer - on at 6am and off at midnight.  I bought this timer when I went away for a few days but it's pretty cool to have even when I'm home.  I don't have to worry about remembering anything!

And I have just started another big batch; mainly peppers and tomatoes again.  But a couple of other plants as well.

For these types of seeds (small seeds), I use the Jiffy "Greenhouse" setup with a heat mat.  The peat pellets have water poured over until the peat has expanded and has loosened up.  That's at least 2 litres of water for the 72 pellet setup I have. I generally use 2-3 seeds in each pellet to be sure something comes up.  If all three come up, I will wait until they are a couple of inches tall, then pinch away the weakest looking ones.

And to track all of this, I have started to document everything in a spreadsheet.  Here's a snapshot of what I plan to track (below).  I've already transplanted the first 4 types I started in February, but I can't recall the date so will leave it blank. But I'll be sure to track everything going forward.  This should really help to develop a routine over the next few years. I can adjust based on past experience and general weather conditions.

Hmm ... I wonder if I should also track other info like weather conditions?  I'll see as I go, I suppose.  I am also going to check around the internet and see what other people track on their seed schedule and take advantage of their experience to get on the right track sooner with my own plans.

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