Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Starting Seeds Indoors

*Original post from 2/11/11*

One way I like to do away with winter time blues is to start some seeds inside.  I can't tell you what it does to your mind to stick your fingers in dirt in February!  To smell the dirt.  Then to have the seedlings turn green while the outside is white or maybe brown(if you are lucky enough to have snow gone). 
Right now I have started some peppers inside.  I am no expert at this.  I more or less do this to stay sane during these long winter days.  I have been trying seed starting for a few years now.  Every year I learn something new, every year we get a little bit better.  I do end up producing from my plants I start.  Even if they don't always look the best.
     One thing I have learned is I do not like transplanting seedlings.  Maybe transplanting is something I need to accept and move on.  I am stubborn though.  I have had luck planting the seeds in bigger containers and leaving them there.....just don't go on vacation and expect your teenager to remember to water them ; )  Going from the success I had last year, minus the lack of water, I will try planting in bigger containers again.
I found that you definitely don't need to start all seeds at the same time.  Peppers seem to take the longest, as do some flowers.  After that tomatoes are good to start.  Since we have such a short growing season up north here, it's nice to get a head start on melons and maybe some pumpkins.

Seed starting in pop bottles

This past summer, a customer was raving to Travis about how they were done processing all their tomatoes.  Bragging it was weeks before everyone else up north.  His secret he claims was starting his tomatoes seeds early in pop bottles.  Making sure you have nice full plants when it was time to transplant them to the garden will give you your tomatoes sooner.(Considering I usually end up picking green tomatoes at the last possible minute I will take the "normal" picking time for up here.) 

I washed the pop bottles out and cut the top 2/3rds to 3/4s off.  I did not cut the whole way around.  I left a little left so the top would stay attached.  I did read where someone cut the top all the way off and made slits for the top to fit back on the bottom.  (There is no right or wrong way to do this.) 
When seedlings start to emerge I will have Travis hang a light from the curtain rod.  I know, not your fanciest interior decorating, but oh well.  The small plants need more light than the sun can provide right now.

When the plants start to grow out the top, cut that part(of the pop bottle) off. Your plant then will fill out instead of just growing up. For this year I will give this a try and see how it works out. I have used pop bottles, juice bottles, and so far one 1/2 gallon milk jug. 
(We might try this out at school too, but with the smaller soda and water bottles.)

Hopefully I can post updated pictures of seedlings and plants!  Peppers will take about 2 weeks to germinate, so it will be awhile.

2/19/2011 A seed sprouting!

3/15/2011  One of my pepper plants!

 *update 4/19/11*
One of my tomato plants 4/17/2011.  We cut the top of the bottle off a few weeks ago.

New leaves below the plastic.  That means we need to cut the bottle off that far down.

My grow light...aka Travis's shop light.

Now if the snow would leave for good and the warm temps come back!

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