time for peppers and early tomatoes

All of the crops I started 2 weeks ago have germinated. The pansies were the last to go, and they are still barely peeking up above the soil. I gave them all a watering with diluted Neptune’s Harvest organic seaweed fertilizer this weekend. I’ll do that a couple more times until they get transplanted outside.

spinach, kale and broccoli sprouts

Last Friday the 24th I started some more seeds. This time I planted peppers and my “early” tomatoes. The rest of my tomatoes I will start later into March.

Last year I started my peppers on Feb 24th also, so I am right on track this for the 2012 garden. My peppers last year were very healthy. There were even some small fruits forming on a few of the plants by the time I got them planted outside. They were much larger and more healthy looking than most of what I saw being sold at the farmer’s market last spring.

I also started all my tomato plants during this same week last year (except the romas).  It was too early to start all of them. My plants grew too tall too fast under the grow lights, and the stems were fairly weak. Many of them did not survive the hardening off period. Their weak stems snapped in the littlest wind outside. I spent a lot of extra effort trying to stake them, and then they took a lot longer that usual to adjust once I did transplant in the garden.

I noticed last year that the tomatoes that had the sturdiest stems were Jetsetters. So for my “early” tomatoes this year (I try to have my first tomato by the 4th of July) I am going to start a couple Jetsetters from seed, and a new variety for me this year, Oregon Spring. In the past I have tried the variety Stupice as my early tomato, but we haven’t been that impressed with the fruit itself. They are pretty small, kind of plain in flavor, and don’t slice well.

The method I use for growing the earliest tomato possible came from Bob Thompson’s The New Victory Garden. Basically I start the tomatoes super early, and keep transplanting them into bigger and bigger containers, burying the stem as much as possible each time.

I had a very willing and eager helper assist me in getting my seeds planted again:

He was so careful to put 1 seed in each cell, and then sprinkle seed start mix on top. He loved helping pick peppers last year, I think in part because they were fairly easy to pick, and so many different colors.

The final list of seeds planted Feb 24th are:

Tomatoes

  • Oregon Spring
  • Jetsetter

Peppers

  • California Wonder (green/red)
  • Purple Beauty (purple)
  • Orange Sun (orange)
  • Gypsy (yellow-green)
  • Creme Brulee (yellow/red) (new to me this year)
  • Early Sunsation (yellow) (new to me this year)
  • Snack Pepper (small orange) (new to me this year)
  • Cayenne
  • Jalapeno

I’m already dreaming about my first tomato in July…

Have you started any seeds yet?

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One Response to time for peppers and early tomatoes

  1. Pingback: More peppers and tomatoes » Dig | Sew | Grow

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