Sunday, February 10, 2013

Seedling Starting Time

It is hard to believe it is that time of year again.  Tom has been pouring over seed catalogs and ordering seed.  Today, I decided it was time to start pepper seeds.  Peppers take a little longer to grow than tomatoes.  So, we start them first.  If all goes well, they should be ready to plant by our first outdoor farmers' market in April.

I decided to try a different method for starting the seedlings than I have used in the past.  Prior to this, I have used clear plastic berry boxes.  Here is a link to how I did it using berry boxes:

This time I used "row flats".  You can by these from most seed catalogs, like Johnny's Select Seeds.  Here is a picture of a row flat, along with the tray it fits in and a cover that goes on top.

First, I filled the trays with a special seed starting medium that is very fine.  It had dried out over the year and I had to add water to it and mix it up with a paint stick before I could use it.  

Then, I filled the trays with the damp soil and got my seed starting "station" organized.  I always do this in our basement which serves as our utility room.  Note, coffee is a must! 

I stuck masking tape along the length of the tray and labeled the rows with the variety of pepper that was planted in each one, like this:

After all the rows were filled with seeds, I sprinkled the planting mixture over them, patted them down lightly and watered them.  Then, on went the lid.

Finally, I plugged in a heating mat and hung a light over it.

Then, I set the newly planted tray on the mat.

It will take the pepper seedlings several days to emerge.  We will have to check them everyday to make sure they do not dry out.  Once the seedlings are a few days old, then we will unplug the heat mat.  The lights are on a timer that is set to come on at 5:00 in the morning and go off at 8:00 at night.

After the seedlings being to get their second set of leaves, then they will be transplanted into individual pots.  That process is very time-consuming and Tom usually does it because he has more patience than I do!

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