Although I didn’t use real dirt. I put this batch in vermiculite, to see how well that goes. Vermiculite is an exploded mineral – Nicholas thinks it looks like little sea fossils. Most of the nourishment a seed needs to start comes from its own stored carbohydrate; later, when it has decent rootlings, it will want real dirt.
We have lots of seeds to start, but they don’t all need to be planted just yet. We will probably plant a new batch of seeds each week for the next month or more. Today I put in mostly peppers, and a whole tray of cauliflower, which takes a long time to mature, and it would want to be well-started before going in the ground, or it won’t head. Cauliflower is wicked expensive in the groceries stores. I think it will sell well at the market, so it is worth having a lot in, and it is very good in a mixed pickle.
I very carefully tagged each row of cells. It is too easy to get rushed, and distracted, and put off the labelling until later, completely forgetting what went where. I learned this from my father – tag each flat with the name of the plant, not just the general name, but the variety. I also write the date started on the tag; again, it is too easy to forget.
I am crazy about peppers. I love peppers, hot and sweet, and I love the pretty plants and the cute baby fruit. I have started four kinds of peppers, 100 plants in all, and will start more next week. Peppers sell well, especially sweet or mildly hot ones, and some people want hot peppers for relishes as well as cooking. I have Cayenne and Jalapeno peppers starting, because I intend to make ristras to sell. Ristras are strings of hot peppers, threaded while fresh and left to dry. They hang in the kitchen and the cook just cuts off whatever amount is needed.
So the trays are now sitting in a sunny western window, with lots of nice mild heat rising underneath. They are watered with an old-fashioned tin watering can, with a rosette head. Sloshes of water will disturb the budding seeds, so gentle rain is the effect we want. The plastic covers make a little greenhouse, hold in moisture and keep out contaminants to some degree. I will be making seedstarters from recycled paper and cardboard as well, but the store-bought ones meant that we could get some underway this week, as my post-illness energy levels are a bit low.