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Tomatoes on the way!

I have planted nearly everything that is going into the ground for the summer season. After I pull up the garlic, I will make that bed home to four more tomato plants, as well as a few more eggplant and possibly another zucchini. That leaves one small bed for the peppers, and that is it!

In my very first post for this blog I announced to the world my commitment to grow exclusively from seed this season, and I am sticking to it. I laid out the things I had learned about starting seeds up to that point. Here is that list:

1. Plant way more than you think you are going to use.

2. Be vigilant about keeping the soil moist.

3. Be prepared for an unexpected warm day. (I lost about 1/3 of my seedlings in one afternoon).

4. Peppers are really hard to start. I am going to try again with the seedling tray on a warmer.

Now, after going through much more trial and error, here are some additions to that list:

Direct light is essential – I tried starting some seeds indoors on a warming pad. I don’t have a good window with direct sunlight, so thought I could keep them indoors until the moment they sprouted. I was wrong. The little seedlings came bursting out of the soil desperately reaching for the light. Many came up too leggy and lived a very short life.

Chamomile Tea is a must to prevent “dampening off” – This is a plight for pepper and tomato seedlings and chamomile tea kills the fungus that makes this happen. Read more about this here.

Some things are best seeded directly into the soil – winter squash, beans, and maybe cucumbers (have to get back to you on that one)

Young transplants must be protected from pill bugs – While they mostly eat decaying matter, they can eat a young plant down to a nub in one night. In my garden they seem to particularly like cucumbers and beans. I protect my plants by cutting out the bottom of a 4″ plastic pot and creating a barricade around the plant.

Pill bug barricade