Sunday, May 29, 2011

Spring Seeding for Transplants

As usual we ordered a tonne of seed, the above photo is only one of our seed orders. [This one from Heritage Harvest Seed in Manitoba] Many of these needed to be grown out for seedlings. With a last frost date of mid May we can get a jump on the season as well as getting long season plants such as tomatoes ready by planting them early. [You must be asking 'whattheheck??' Why would a seed grower need so much seed??? Dh grows items I don't yet save from and I am always on the lookout for more varieties worthy of saving. Thus buying more seed to trial. You can learn more about the seed saving at the Itty Bitty Seeds Blog.]

I learned last year that using our own compost for planting seedlings gives them a boost over anything I have found commercially. I learned this year that straight compost sieved fine sets up like concrete once it dries out. I'm thinking next year of planting out in compost mixed with a commercial planting mix we can use and still qualify to be certified under our local 'organic' label.

Our long term goal is to be certified Kootenay Mountain Grown. It will take time as there are many small details that have to be scrutinized and okayed or more likely changed to be in-line with the set standards. This isn't for our home garden, that would be nuts, but for dh's market garden and for my garden seeds that I 'sell'. Everything has to be reviewed, our potting soil, seeds, mulch, pest and disease management practices, overall farm practices as well as long term goals concerning improving the farm we lease. Big head ache, but well worth it to have his veg and my seeds able to have that reassurance for our customers that we are farming in a responsible organic manner.

This year's seedlings were planted mainly in well screened compost and grown out under lights in our 'dining room'. This wasn't ideal and I'm looking into alternatives for next year. They did okay, but weren't quite as nice as those grown in a heated greenhouse. We don't have the space for such as thing here at the house and couldn't do such on our leased farm so alternatives are being looked at. I may beg space from a friend if I don't get a space at the local community greehouse. [Which is a beyond cool programme BTW!]

And now ... just some plant love pictures...