Starting Tomatoes and Peppers from Seed allows you to try varieties that you can't find at your local garden center.
It's free and easy to make pots from newspaper. Just take a sheet of newspaper, roll it around a can, and then fold and glue the bottom closed. When planting time rolls around, no need to remove the pot, just plant the whole thing.
Seedlings need a loose, well-drained potting mix, composed of very fine particles. Don’t use regular potting soil—often, it’s too rich and doesn’t drain well enough for seedlings. Seed starting mix is dry and must be moistened well before using.
In this video, it is the beginning of April, and we are planting peppers...jalapeno, green California Wonder, and a medium hot variety called Joe Parker. Just to be sure, three seeds are placed in each pot. They will be thinned later if more than one seed germinates.
The pots are covered with a recycled plastic container to insure high humidity. Because peppers also like warmth to germinate, we cover the pots with our chick brooder until the seeds come up.
Because our light fixture doesn't have much of a reflector, we made one by gluing foil to two pieces of cardboard and attaching one to each side. It really helps by directing most of light to the plants.
A week later and the tomato seeds have been planted the same way (except for the heater), and they are all under the light and ready to go. As the plants grow, we raise the light so it is always about one inch above the plants.
We thought it would be interesting to try a variety of different tomatoes this year, including many Heirlooms that originated from cold regions with short growing seasons, like Manitoba from Canada, Polish Linguista from Poland, Katja from Siberia, Green Moldovan from Moldova and Cosmonaut Volkov from Russia.
Out of sight, out of mind, but the lamp does produce heat so mustn't forget to water.
A fan blowing on the plants for a few hours each day helps them to develop strong stems.
Three weeks after sowing, and the plants are almost ready to go into the cold frame to begin the hardening off period.
Check back with us later to see how well the different varieties have performed.