tomato/pepper germination best alternatives : LUSENET : : One Thread

Regarding: This year was the first REAL garden I have had....I had difficulties and want to receive help, particularly with the information on tomato/pepper seedling growth.

I have studied almost 100 books on homesteading; how to make it all work together and still be as independent as I can. I have a home-made 1" thick notebook of typed notes. I take this gardening/livestock thing seriously.

Last year I started a garden. It was not a good success because it was planted after we purchased the house....too late in season, and purchased a tiller and overcame great time and mechanical restraints.

This year we purchased the best seed from three different catalogs (((Not Burpee, either!!!!!))) I tilled more beds (((on steep hillside--it just took time))), started a temporary, full-time job to tide us over until a few bills were caught up, and then found I had no time left over to water the garden. Watering isn't a necessity here....people literally laugh at me here (((in the mountains))) when I water my garden. I just remember Minnesota and the short season there and keep waving as I water during hot, non-dewy weather, knowing that the bone meal, green manures and horse manures WILL eventually turn this hillside cow/horse pasture into a garden of eden! This drought year, however, I started a 35-hour job and I could not water.

The problem came when I started pepper and tomato, as well as brassica seeds from seeds, not from seedlings. I just couldn't justify the cost of seedlings and miracle-grow when Mother-nature provided such a wonderful way to greenhouse/cold-frame for so cheap---and organically. The peppers NEVER SPROUTED, the brassicas wouldn't transplant well, and the locusts took over everything. I didn't have time to save anything, and couldn't come to allowing DURSBAN to be on the garden...the lawn requiring such a horrible chemical was bad enough! It was a miserable failure....but not without VALUABLE lessons.

Would you please briefly advise me....particalarly, tell me the BEST way to raise seedlings from seeds....Hotframe versus Greenhouse versus basement with seedling lights. Heating cables didn't help the floundering tomato/and especially, pepper plants; that was my worst problem.

How many window panes can one still find and justify, anyway?? Are hot/cold frames more appropriate than a small greenhouse? Perhaps a cheap greenhouse with moving certain plants, at different times to a hot frame????

The job won't last forever, just until bills are caught up....I believe no later than Spring. By then, my husband and I will be used to the extra hours and will be able to make adjustments.

I am resolved to make approximately one year's crops with food to feed livestock, organically, on our 17 acre, south-facing, steep hillside land. I will consider miracle-grown seedlings in the Spring....but is that really necessary????

I understand "hardening off", seedling light adjustment, and many other aspecs. What I don't understand, I can look up. But I found the basement seedlings suffering when the basement furnace wasn't operating, they just struggled too much for me to repeat that again.

Please advise.

From West Virginia, Zone 6/7 (May 10-October 10 season)

Sarah Danielson Rt 3 Box 74F Mannington, WV 26582

-- Anonymous, October 03, 2002

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