A lot has happened since my last post – we wrapped up our fall dig-ins in September, we had our annual Fall Festival in October, we held a gardening workshop in November, and completed part 1 of our Seeds to Start (STS) workshop a couple of weeks ago.
I’d like to post a few notes and photos from the first STS workshop so folks can see the progress of the plants before the 2nd workshop in a week or so. Next week, I’ll go back in time and post some pictures from the wonderful Fall Festival we held at Boggy Creek Farm in October.
There was a great turnout for STS in spite of the cold morning – about 18 brave souls joined us to start seeds for our spring gardens. We started a couple of varieties of tomatoes including the yummy heirloom, Brandywine and some Sweet 100 cherries. We also started peppers and eggplant.
We followed our usual process of starting the seeds in flats lined with newspaper using Vortex Germinator soil from The Natural Gardener. A couple of us divided the flats up and each brought 5 of them home to sprout. If all goes well, we’ll return them on the 26th for the second workshop to transplant to individual 4 inch pots.
I have a few pictures below from the workshop and 1 of my setup at home with warming mats to keep the soil temp where these spring veggies need it – around 70 degrees. I use fluorescent lights with standard bulbs (not grow lights), but as I’ve described before, I use 1 cool and 1 warm bulb to provide a more complete spectrum. Now that they’ve sprouted I can take the flats outside on warm days to get the real thing. Even soil moisture is essential during germination so I keep a spray bottle close by. All of this is tucked away on a tarp under a table with the lights hanging from string.
Keep in mind that this same process works well on a smaller scale for your home gardens. You can use a variety of containers if you don’t have flats including egg and milk cartons. You can also sow the seeds directly into 4 inch pots either by putting 3 or 4 seeds in each pot and keeping the strongest – this removes the need to transplant later. Alternatively, you can start 10 or 15 seeds in each pot and transplant them to individual pots once they sprout the 2nd set of leaves – usually in a few weeks. Keep the soil warm and evenly moist and keep the lights close to the pots once they sprout. This is a great way to always have plants ready to go in the ground when the weather is right.
As I mentioned, I’ll post some pictures from our festival next week and otherwise, hope to see you at the 2nd STS workshop or our spring dig-ins. We’ll also have another gardening workshop coming up – visit our website for more information or to register for these events.
In spite of the weather, we had a great turn out for part 1 of our Spring STS workshop. It certainly didn’t feel like spring, but we’re getting the plants ready for our dig-ins coming up in March. Since I described our process last year, I’m not going to go through that again, but I do have a few photos to post. I’ll follow the progress of the plants over the next couple of weeks, and if they grow as planned we’ll have our follow-on workshop on the 29th to move them to individual 4 inch pots.
Thanks again to everyone that helped and hope to see you at future events.
On Sunday, February 1, Green Corn Project volunteers met to follow up on the seed starting for this season’s gardens. As you can see, we like to get our volunteers started young!
The volunteers pricked out the seedlings from the flats where they sowed the seeds two weeks earlier. They transplanted the seedlings into individual 4-inch pots where they will grow until they are planted during the spring dig-ins.
If you would like to help install organic food gardens for families and individuals in need, as well as for schools and community centers, please register on our workshop.
**Updated: Here are the varieties:
Eggplant: Rosa Bianca (Botanical Interests)
Serrano: Tampiqueno (Botanical Interests)
Jalapeno: Early (Botanical Interests)
Bell Pepper: California Wonder (Botanical Interests)
Tomato: Stupice (Seeds of Change)
Cherry Tomato: Gardeners Delight (Botanical Interests)
(The name in parentheses represents the seed source.)
The seeds that GCP volunteers sowed at the January 10th Seeds to Starts workshop have sprouted! The tomatoes, eggplants, and peppers are looking good. To see more of their progress, check out our Picasa album.
The next step is the pricking out–transferring the seedlings into their own 4-inch pots. If you’d like to learn how and help us prepare plants for our spring gardens, register at our website.