Thursday 12 March 2015

Tomatoes and Peppers Started

I've been away this past week in the Dominican Republic (a few pictures on my last post for Wordless Wednesday).  It was -25 celsius when I left ... but arrived back Tuesday night to a balmy 5 degrees!  The greenhouse vents opened up as it was so hot inside!!  I have to admit that the open vent was a pretty awesome sight!  I later went inside to check things out and it was really warm - the original thermometer broke so I just need to get another one to see what it's really like in there before I do anything.

I booked the trip about a month ago so I knew I had to wait to get some seeds started.  I was really hoping to get an early start this year, in particular, to take advantage of the new greenhouse.  Oh well, it' still a bit of an average time to get going for me.

I usually store my seeds (in the cool dark basement) by plant family or other general groupings.  This helps me decide what I need to order or what I already have enough of.  But they get a bit mixed up ... for example, since I plan my garden around what I like to eat, I usually put the kale with the greens instead of the brassicas group because it's more intuitive when I plan my seed orders.

Then once my seed orders are all in, I split them out into planting method.  As shown in my recent post of my 2015 garden plans, this year I have three splits - starting indoor, starting in the greenhouse (new this year!) and direct sow outside.

I'm starting with the indoor seedlings ... first up are usually onions but I'm still getting organized for those.  So today I got on the tomatoes and peppers.  I have a bit of a short growing season so starting tomatoes and peppers inside is a must.

I always use a heat mat with a Jiffy greenhouse - the "greenhouse" is just a plastic base and lid that sit on top of the heat mat.   And I use peat pellets.

Just add warm water and they expand into little potting containers.  

After they have expanded (picture above is only halfway), I tear the wrapping to make sure there is plenty of space.  Into each go two to three seeds. Today I started the following (each row is six pellets):

Row 1: Park Seeds Heirloom Rainbow Blend (according to the website, this includes Aunt Ruby's German Green, Dixie Golden Giant, Black from Tula, Brandywine Red, Big Rainbow, and Cherokee Purple) - new pack bought in 2014
Row 2: Park Seeds Heirloom Rainbow Blend
Row 3: Park Seeds Heirloom Rainbow Blend
Row 4: Park Seeds Chocolate Cherry Tomatoes - leftovers from 2014
Row 5: West Coast Seeds Ancho Peppers - leftovers from 2014
Row 6: Stokes Super Red Pimento Peppers - leftovers from 2014
Row 7: Greta's Organic Seeds Cowhorn Peppers - new this year
Row 8: Greta's Organic Seeds Franks Sweet Peppers - new this year
Row 9: William Dam Seeds Ace Hybrid - leftovers from 2014 (very few seeds left - I didn't really need to use the whole row, but it's just easier to track that way)
Row 10: William Dam Seeds San Marzano Tomatoes - leftovers from 2012
Row 11: William Dam Seeds Jalapeno Raam - leftovers from 2012
Row 12: William Dam Seeds Jalapeno M Strain - leftovers from 2012

The heat mat greenhouse will sit away from the solarium windows as it gets too hot when the sun is shining.  But when they are large enough, I'll transplant them and move the seedlings into the brighter light here (after I get these plants moved out of the way).

I still have a few more peppers to get started so I'll work on that tomorrow along with the onion seeds and some herbs.

I'm very happy to finally get the season truly kicked off!


  1. It feels good to get planting, doesn't it - can't wait to see all of your little seedlings pop up! The pace will really pick up for me next week when I get started on sowing some brassicas. BTW - I know I've mentioned it before, but that greenhouse is just gorgeous!

    1. I'm looking forward to using the greenhouse soon!

  2. It's interesting to see how you start your seeds. I like the Jiffy pellets. My shallots are sown but you remind me I have to get going on peppers and tomatoes in the next week or so. BTW, I'm envious of that greenhouse.

    1. I've been starting tomato and pepper seeds this way for about 4 years - works pretty well for me. I already have a tomato sprout ...