Sunday, March 16, 2008

Startup 2008

The 2008 startup actually began in 2007 when the first seed catalogues became available. After the previous 2 years of random planting I decided to try to be just a little bit more organised. Not too much, mind you, hey this is gardening and in Oklahoma too!! The beds had already been dug over and covered with straw the previous fall. I should have checked the soil but I didn't get my soil sampling kit/meter until Christmas. Oh well.

24th February
I decided to try 3 different types of tomato seeds, all purchased from my favorite seed supplier Heirloom Seeds. I already had some which I'd saved from last years crop which were simply called "Big Red ". I also started "Old Virginia" and "Giant Beefsteak". These were all planted into a seed starter mix of sphagnum peat moss and perlite as seeds should not be started in plain old garden soil . There is a big chance of the seedlings getting disease if you do.I punched holes into the bottom of the polystyrene cups and set them in a tray lined with plain old paper towel from the kitchen. This I gave a good soaking with water. I lightly sprayed the cups with a hand sprayer and placed the whole lot on top of the refrigerator.

March 5th

Seedlings have sprouted and are moved under lamp

The first seedlings have sprouted, some of each variety have come through so now they are moved to my little growing room in the house where I have a table with a simple fluorescent lighting strip hung over it. This light is left on for 16 to 18 hours a day and is positioned about 3 to 4 inches above the top of the plants.

Now that the top of the refrigerator is free I've started my next batch of seeds which are Red Wethersfield Onions and Spicy Bush Globe Basil. I planted lots of Basil in with the tomato plants last year and was amazed to see the amount of Honey and Bumble bees they attracted. I decided that this time I would try to grow some from seed.

March 10th
I've finally checked the Ph level of the soil in all the plots and it's fearfully low, around 4.0 in fact. Ideally it should be neutral which is about 6.0 to 6.5 so I've added around 5lb of Calcitic lime to each bed in an effort to get rid of the acidity. I hope I'm not too late, this should have been done in the fall. I'm wanting to get some direct planting done on the Easter weekend if possible so I'll check it then and keep my fingers crossed.

I've also noticed that the first onion and basil seeds have sprouted.

March 12th

More onion and basil sprouts have appeared so now they are moved under the lamps with the tomatoes

Tomato seedlings at 3 weeks

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