Wednesday, January 23, 2013

Starting Summer Seeds!

This time of year we convert the old computer cabinet used to store non-refrigerated produce to a germination closet.  We have a thermostat hooked to a space heater that keeps the closet at whatever desired temp needed to sprout the seeds.
It's not exactly up to code, but since it will only be used for a few months and then removed , we just live with the risk.   

We started our Heirloom Grape ("Crack-berries") and Early Girl tomato seeds a few days after Christmas.

On January 3rd the seedlings started sprouting.

On January 5th, mice found the closet and feasted on Organic Tomato seedlings.
This is one of the lessons I always share with beginning farmers, it's a rare event 
when things go as planned if your an organic farmer.  As a consummate planner, this
 was and still is by far is the most difficult lesson to learn. 
 What you do to mitigate the unknown is to plan for an early start, so if you have to re-do things there is time (usually).
After a week of trapping mice with old fashioned mouse traps and extra crunchy peanut
 butter (7 confirmed KILLS!!), more seeds were started.

On January 15th round two of the Heirloom Grape  ("Crack-berries") and Early Girl tomato
 seedlings start sprouting.

Moving these seedlings to the 50 cell flats they will spend the next 5 weeks is probably
 the easiest thing we do.  

One of the tools we use to for our seedlings is our ebb & flow water tables.  These tables are flooded from the bottom up so only the roots of the plants get a drink and the plant itself stays dry.  Keeping water off these young sprouts goes a long way towards giving them a good start.  THE MOST IMPORTANT protection against the pests that our state serves up is a HEALTHY plant.  Managing the water is a key element we focus on.

Sarah helping transplant the tomatoes.  

These 1200 tomato seedlings are 'planned' to be in the ground in early March.

The first stage of yellow straight-neck summer squash , dill , parsley and Tyria Cucumbers.  This early stage will be grown inside Wilma.
We 'plan' to open the markets in April with the fruits from these plants.
Producing year round means we always are starting seeds, but starting seeds for the first summer crops is special.  It gives me hope that our 2013 PLAN has the flexibility needed to ensure another record year.
It all starts with a seed.

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