I’ve got 103 potential seedlings in these cups. 6 different cherry tomato varieties, 3 different chile types: one tepin type, and two high elevation New Mexico green chile types, a basil mix and eggplant. These are all difficult to grow in the 7,000 ft pine desert, but i have had success under the right conditions. We can see how it goes this year later in the season.
I popped a whole in the bottom of paper cups. I saved all the to-go cups I could and a devoted friend helped. She will be showered with seedlings for her loyalty!
I made a soil mix to try and match what we’ve got going on the in yard. Its rocky clay. We’ve tried to amend it with composted horse poop and our compost pile, but its still pretty rough conditions. My theory is to not make it too easy on them, so they aren’t as shocked when they go in the ground. We’ll see how that goes. I used a succulent potting mix combined with some local topsoil that was delivered for the raised bed for the hoophouse.
These clear plastic tubs were $4.5o. I used popsicle sticks so I can keep the names with the plants once they are in the garden. I’m going to see which varieties do best.
These seeds have a pretty high optimal temp for germination, about 85 degrees F for the tomatoes. They’ll grow at lower temps, but I think they just really like to be sure that they aren’t going to be screwed if they come out and its not warm enough for them to survive. I got an electric blanket on clearance and put it under the plastic tubs to keep the seed cups warm. The blanket doesn’t get wet, so it’s safe. I shouldn’t have to run it too long after the plants emerge, but its snowing today, so its pretty slick!
I keep the tops loosely on the plastic tubs so the warmth and moisture will stay in. Its working great.
And there they are, clean and easy, only taking up a little floor space in the bedroom. I can’t contain my excitement. Anyone who comes over, I immediately show them my ‘babies’. They’re all plant people so we all squeal with delight together.
I think that this is a reliable and streamlined approach to getting seeds going. I’ve had years of more rigged set ups and this is what my mistakes have taught me. PLUS>>> Its saves a lot of money compared to buying plants at a nursery and you’ll be able to start seeds that aren’t available there too. Please comment if you have other ideas!