Friday, February 3, 2012

Heirloom Tomatoes Part 1

It's planting time in Central FL!
Time to get the ol' garden growing, here's what I've done so far:
1. Plant some tomatoes, Rutgers. They're from some 2010 seed stock, and they all pretty much sprouted, take that expiration date!
2. Tried to sprout some pole beans, peppers, and eggplant. Didn't do so hot with that, the end result was...disgusting...
I have lots of pics from planting!
First let's meet the players:

 These are the seeds, my Rutgers Tomatoes from 2010. Later on down the line I'll give a close up of what's in the tray. First let me tell you what the tray is. For the last 6 months or so, my family has been intentionally trying to eat better. One of the changes we have made is to use better eggs, namely 4 Grain brand. They don't pay me to say this, but these are great eggs. Pricey yes, worth it? I think so. They remind me of the eggs we got when I was a kid from a friend of the family. Anyway, I'm recycling the cartons to plant seeds. The eggs are packed in a "clamshell", with a lid over top of the clamshell. I cut the lid off (more on what I did with that later), and put water and seeds in the little cups that once held the eggs. The seeds were prepared on January 19th, and I did this planting on February 1st. There were 2-3 seeds in each cup, and every cup had sprouted seeds in it on the first. There was no sign of bad mold.

In the picture on the right we see the peat pots that will take our sprouts and turn them into plantable tomato bushes. There was 32 in the package, we only need 24 for the tomatoes. the extra pot will get eggplant and pepper (cayenne) plants.
This is my dirt. I buy it from a local co-op farm. When I asked him what he was using to grow his great looking produce he told me he was using stuff so good he called it 'soil' and not dirt. I asked him the difference between soil and dirt, and he told me price. When he told me the price for a bag of this stuff I about fell out! I ponied up though, and paid the piper, mainly because I could see the results right in front of me. I have a hard time growing good size produce in my yard because of a lack of good dirt and sunshine. Fortunately, this soil takes care of it's part. I'd probably clear some trees out, but they make great free antenna supports, so I don't complain. I think instead I will be focusing my growing efforts on raising blackberries, if my current vine makes good this year.

Finally we have my makeshift greenhouse. This is a box we had in storage that wasn't holding anything but dust and spider webs. I cleaned it out and made it so that when I potted up my sprouts, they would have a place with high heat and humidity so the could grow fast.

In my next post I'll show you all the steps I went through to get a mini-greenhouse with some tomatoes in it!
Here's a close up of my high dollar dirt:
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