Austin Urban Gardens

Raised Bed Gardening and Eating Well in Austin, Texas

Sowing Seeds Indoors for the Spring Garden January 29, 2013

Filed under: Uncategorized — austinurbangardens @ 4:53 pm
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Every year, I plant some seeds indoors for my Spring Garden.  Seeds are hopeful little things, and waiting for and watching them sprout is something I really enjoy.  I’d like to say that this saves me money on transplants, and it may, but ultimately I will get excited about the transplants once they show up at nurseries, and buy those too.

This  year, with several folks interested in seedling swaps, I went a bit nuts on the seeds, and filled 3 seed trays with tomatoes and peppers.  I simply filled the trays with Ladybug Germinator soil, and used my finger to make the holes to drop the seeds into, then covered the hole.

These seed trays come with plastic covers, but after several days of being covered, I noticed mold and removed them.  I may have been keeping them too moist, I don’t know.  On top of that black contraption, which is actually 2 serving stands, sits a light.

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The morning of day 7 since I planted the seedlings, one tomato seedling had come up.  Throughout the day, more and more peeped out from the soil.

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It was so warm, I took the trays outside and set them in the sun, which immediately retreated.  Since it was going to stay in the 60’s at night, I left them out, hopefully to absorb more real sun.  By Monday at 1:00, a whole lot more of of tomatoes were up. None of the peppers are up as of this writing, which is perfectly normal, because they just take longer.  I’ll put them back in the kitchen this afternoon, because it will be below 65 the next few nights.

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The seed varieties so far:

Tomatoes – Paul Robeson, Black Krim, Cherokee Purple, Beefsteak, Black Cherry, Renee’s Garden Seeds, “Heirloom Tomatoes, Summer Feast” (for surprise), Stupice (cold tolerant)

Peppers – Early Jalapeño, Serrano Tampequeno, Ancho Gigantea, Pimiento del Piquillo, then a week later, Orange Thai, Habenero, and

Watermelon – Sugar Baby

I pick up  seeds everywhere I see them, but I prefer High Mowing Seeds, Seed Saver’s Exchange, Botanical Interests and Renee’s Garden Seeds.  I have ordered heirloom tomato seeds online in the past, but in the past few years, the variety of heirloom tomato and pepper transplants available has improved, so no need.  Seeds are very rewarding, but transplants are instant gratification.

It will prove to be a challenge to get all these seedlings transplanted to 4″ pots in a week or two, so they can grow more.  (You transplant tomatoes once they put on their second set of leaves.  If there is  no sign of any more cold weather after this, I’m tempted to put some of them into the garden, and just see what happens.  That served me well last year, but it was February before I did so, and its early yet.  I’d rather have some sustained freezes to kill the bugs, or Summer is going to be no fun at all.

The picture below is from Green Corn Project’s Seeds to Starts, second workshop – transplanting seedlings into 4″ pots.  Those seedlings were 3 weeks old, and will now stay in a Greenhouse until March, when they will go into the ground.  We’ll be installing 10 gardens this Spring and 10 this Fall for folks who otherwise would not be able to have a vegetable garden.  If you’d like to help us, please visit the website and sign up for a dig-in!  It’s a great way to learn organic gardening while helping others.

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