Starting heirloom seeds

Discussion in 'Gardening & Plant Propagation' started by BertaBurtonLake, Apr 28, 2005.

  1. BertaBurtonLake

    BertaBurtonLake Well-Known Member

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    Hi everyone!

    I have had a successful vegetable garden every year for many years. This year I am doing thing a little differently. I am so excited to be planting heirloom seeds this year for the first time. In past years, I have bought seeds and started plants from Wally World or my local Garden Center. This is the first time I have ever started seed indoors myself.

    All of the seed I purchased this year are non-hybrids, as I intend to save seed for next year. I have both herbs (medicinal and culinary) and fruits/veggies. I started tomatoes, peppers, herbs, etc in pots 1 1/2 weeks ago. All of them have sprouted. The herbs sprouted first, the tomatoes second and now all the pepper varieties are sprouting.

    Here are my questions: How long before they get secondary leaves? How do I "harden them off" before transplanting. Do I need to "feed" them anything after they have sprouted?

    Any wisdom from gardeners with more virtuosity than I is welcome.

    Warm Regards,

    ~Berta
     
  2. southerngurl

    southerngurl le person Supporter

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    I never really keep track of how long it takes for the the first true leaves to develop.

    I would give them a little liquid kelp, well diluted.

    What mix are they planted in?

    To harden them off. I put mine under a tree where they are shaded. After a couple of days I start moving them just a bit away from the tree over a period of 1 or 2 weeks. They sunburn if they get moved out too fast.

    Do you have them under a light? You should have them really close to it, just an inch or two away from the light.
     

  3. BertaBurtonLake

    BertaBurtonLake Well-Known Member

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    Thanks, SouthernGurl, for responding.

    They are planted in my own mix of compost with ground peanut shells, leaf mold and vermiculite added. They are on trays in a bay window which gets good early morning sun, but indirect light after about 11 AM. I turn the trays about 2 times a day to compensate for them reaching for the light. Does this sound ok?

    Would my local garden center (about 15 miles away) have liquid kelp or would Osmocote work (I already have that)?

    Thanks again,

    ~Berta
     
  4. southerngurl

    southerngurl le person Supporter

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    Sounds like you have a pretty good mix, they probably wouldn't require any fertilizer. You might give them some anyway. I would think the garden center would have the kelp.

    You can use the osmocote too, I just never use synthetic fertilizers, so I wouldn't. The kelp has more different types of nutrients.

    I personally have never had any luck with using a window, but that may just be because there are too many trees around the house. If they seem to start getting leggy, then they need more light. They should be stocky. It is good to run your hand over the tops of the seedlings every now and then. This stimulates them, and helps them grow strong stems, this is the job the wind would normally do outside.
     
  5. Phantomfyre

    Phantomfyre Black Cat Farm Supporter

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    What SouthernGurl said. ;)

    Funny, I was going to recommend the touching thing, but she beat me to it. It sounds nuts, but it really does work! DH thinks I'm nuts for "petting" the tomatoes. Fortunately, my lack of sanity when it comes to plants was already well-established with him before that. :haha:

    I use a plain old flourescent (sp?) shop light over my seedlings because a window just never cut it for me. Even a fully south-facing window - they still got leggy. I have the shop light plugged into a timer, so aside from watering and "petting" them, it's automatic - on at 6, off at 10. Love it, and the flourescent bulbs don't use enough energy to be noticable on the energy bill.

    Good luck, and enjoy! I have heirloom tomatoes started, too - 4 varieties from a very nice person on this very board. ;) Can't wait to try them.

    Diana
     
  6. Bruce in NE

    Bruce in NE Well-Known Member

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    Make sure you use 40 watt shop lights, not 20.