Zones 8-9 Spr/Sum 2011 Veggie Gardening is UNDERWAY- Pt lI

SE Houston (Hobby), TX(Zone 9a)

Zones 8-9 Spr/Summer 2011 Veggie Gardening PART II continues! Post your growing goals, challenges and progress toward your 2011 Spring/Summer Veggie garden(s) here! We'll start a new thread at the end of this season for posting pics of our Veggie garden bounty!

We came from here!
http://davesgarden.com/community/forums/t/1147789/
http://davesgarden.com/community/forums/t/1126351/

HELPFUL LINKS:

SEED STARTER SUPPLIES
http://www.novoselenterprises.com/Default.asp

DD95172's PVC SEED STARTER TRAY
http://davesgarden.com/community/forums/t/1067922/

Calalily's Method for GERMINATING COLE CROP SEEDS IN THE FRIDGE
http://davesgarden.com/community/forums/p.php?
http://davesgarden.com/community/forums/p.php?pid=8116028

Gardadore's Recipe for deterring WHITE CABBAGE MOTHS
http://davesgarden.com/community/forums/p.php?pid=8104087

Qinx's Raised Bed - INTERLOCKING DESIGN/w Pre-Installed Hoop Pins
http://davesgarden.com/community/forums/t/1117901/

GARDENER'S SUPPLY KITCHEN GARDEN PLANNER - DESIGN TEMPLATE
http://www.gardeners.com/on/demandware.store/Sites-Gardeners...

WINTER SOWING DISCUSSION LINKS FROM THE BEGINNING http://davesgarden.com/community/forums/t/1072154/

Kelly's ZONE 9A WATERING SCHEDULE
http://davesgarden.com/community/forums/p.php?pid=7919560

Jim41's ZONE 8A PVC DRIP IRRIGATION WATERING SYSTEM
http://davesgarden.com/community/forums/p.php?pid=7920004

Godspeed & Good Harvest! ^^_^^

Linda


This message was edited Feb 8, 2011 10:17 AM

Thumbnail by Gymgirl
SE Houston (Hobby), TX(Zone 9a)

Seed Starting Update:

Last night I potted up 21 Bull's Heart tomato seedlings. I have about 10 additional Black Krims to pot up tonight. That'll be all of the tomatoes I sowed in January.

To date, I'm rotating the trays out every 12 hours, under fluorescent lights that are running 24/7, and watering the seedlings with a mix of 1/2 tsp. Epsom Salts + 1 tsp. MG Liquid (12-4-8) Plant Food per 10 cups of water.

►The Black Krims (first to be potted up) are looking fabulous!

►The Pruden's Purples (2nd potting up) and Cherokee Purples (3rd potting up) are trying to establish themselves and should look like the Krims by end of this week.

►The Momotoros started in the 4" pots were topped off with starter mix to their cotyledons, and are beefing up nicely.

►The Sioux are sitting there wondering, but since they are the most heat tolerant, I can plant them out last (closest to March 19th cutoff date) and expect to get a decent harvest.

►The Emerald Giant Bells have been up about 2 weeks and are greening up nicely. They are just putting out 1st set of true leaves, but I'm in no rush for them just yet, so they can take their time...

►The "Fooled You" Jalapenos are up about 1 week and are really taking their time!

►The Seed potatoes are sprouting nice and slowly, giving me time to pull out my 20-gallon SmartPots and retrieve the washing machine tubs (questionable vessels for this go-round...).

All-in-all, this has been a productive learning experience. Don't know if I'll do this many seedlings again -- probably depends on what I can recoup at the Farmer's Market. If I can break even on my light shelf/starter mix/trays/cups expenses, I might consider another season of large-scale (for ME) seed starting.

After all, I'm only growing 12 out of the ~150 tomatoes, and about 6 out of the ~30 Bell Peppers!

Hugs!

Pembroke Pines, FL(Zone 10a)

You guys should have some of our weather as just now the thermometer reads 81* and climbing. My tomatos may have a chance to produce more fruit.
Gymgirl -- What on earth are you going to do with all those veggies? You sure have learned a lot since we first met! Good for you......

Fort Worth, TX(Zone 8a)

Almost all of my tomatoes have sprouted. Still waiting on the peppers, but they took longer last year as well, if my memory serves me right.

SE Houston (Hobby), TX(Zone 9a)

Steph,
My bells took almost 3 weeks last year. This year, 7 days!

I attribute it to watering the seeds in with warm water, putting the trays in plastic bags (vented on one end), and shoving them under the fluorescents before they cooled off. I stuck my hand in there once, and it was warm!

Fort Worth, TX(Zone 8a)

I've moved my peppers to the lower shelf of the unit since the maters have sprouted. It's much warmer on the bottom shelf.

SE Houston (Hobby), TX(Zone 9a)

I'm making some observations from the seed-starting operation this year, too:

►The 15-Cell Deep-Rooting System from Gardener's Supply and the 4" nursery pots outperformed my community flats of seedlings. Seedlings started in these two vessels grew faster & taller, and are beefing up faster than those in the community flats. All the seedlings were taken from their original growing vessels and were potted up to either 18 oz Red Solo cups or 16 oz. clear plastic cups.

►All the seedlings started in the 15-Cell DRS are very beefy and got true leaves faster.

►Seedlings started in the 4" nursery pots are lagging slightly behind the 15-Cell DRS seedlings, but not by much.

►Seedlings started in the community flats are lagging behind by about 1 to 1-1/2 week's worth of growth.

►One set of seedlings was left in the original 4" nursery pots. I simply added more starter mix and topped off the pots as they grew. These are shorter than the 15-cell DRS seedlings, but are beefing up at the same rate.

►Seedlings growing in the clear opaque plastic cups look greener than those growing in the red solo cups. I suspect it's because more light is penetrating all sides of the clear cups. The red solo cups only allow light from directly above the seedlings.

What I Would Do Differently, Next time:
►Set up the light shelves before sowing a single seed...
►Sow seeds into 4" nursery pots
►If absolutely have to use community flats, sow seeds very sparingly and spaced apart
►Use Clear Plastic cups vs. Red Solo Cups for potting up
►Stock up on clear plastic bags for germination
►Stock up on kitty litter trays at the $1 store ($1.29/per). While each tray holds only 12 plastic cups, they are much sturdier than regular flats. Can fit three trays end to end under a 2 ft. light



This has been a very good learning experience...

Gymgirl ^^_^^

Alba, TX(Zone 8a)

Thanks for the tip on the ktty litter trays! I'm about to start potting up and just couldn't think of anything. Perfect!

SE Houston (Hobby), TX(Zone 9a)

I'm an moving like a well-oiled machine! Got the lights rotation down so I don't have to keep raising and lowering so many lights every time (had to group all the same height seedlings together).

The Black Krims look like tiny trees! That's the goal!

Here's a picture of my Emerald Giant Bell Peppers. I snapped it this morning during the changeover. I thought it made a good photo statement.

Hugs!

This message was edited Feb 3, 2011 9:19 AM

Thumbnail by Gymgirl
SE Houston (Hobby), TX(Zone 9a)

One more view. Emerald Giant Bell Peppers.

Thumbnail by Gymgirl
League City, TX(Zone 9a)

Wow, nice job.

Well, I checked my WS'd tomatoes yesterday and they did *not* look happy. I think I made the mistake of leaving them (the 2-litres, milk jugs) on a bench on my deck. They were covered with some towels on all sides and with a blanket on top...oh man, just stupid.

I'm bailing out of work early before the rain/ sleet/ snow hits so I need to check on them and maybe move them into the garage. I moved them against the house and that provided them with more shelter to get by last night's cold temps. I hope they're ok or I will be buying tomato plants this spring...

SE Houston (Hobby), TX(Zone 9a)

John,
NOT stupid! I threw a blanket over mine last year, too. Now, what does *not* happy look like? These seedlings are more resilient than we give them credit for.

Just remember my 9-month cabbage that lived through the entire summer and refused to die!

What tomato seeds did you sow?

League City, TX(Zone 9a)

Keep in mind that they were perched atop a bench, so although I protected them on the sides and on top, there was nothing but freezing cold air blowing through all willy-nilly underneath the bench (it's sort of like a picnic bench.)

I hope you are right and the seedlings are resilient enough to overcome this blunder. I will know soon enough.

I had Roma's and Costoluto Geneovese sprouting in these containers.

SE Houston (Hobby), TX(Zone 9a)

So, what they need is some bottom heat, to convince them it's still safe to come out and play.

Try to place them somewhere the bottoms will warm up and get the soil warm. And, once you sit them there, next time you water, use some just-warm-to-the-touch water (that wouldn't burn a baby's hand...). They need bottom heat...

League City, TX(Zone 9a)

Thanks for the advice- will do.

Anywone hear from Calalilly? It's supposed to get very cold even in her neck of the woods so I am curious to see how she manages. I think she can cover everything per her previous postings, if I am not mistaken.

Fort Worth, TX(Zone 8a)

Okay, how far from the tops of my containers does the light need to be? Right now, it's almost touching the tops of the cups and I think that's too close.

Fort Worth, TX(Zone 8a)

Well, crud! I posted to the wrong thread! LOL

How far from the tops of my containers does the light need to be? Right now, Mark's got them sitting almost on top of the cups and I think that's way too close for my liking.

SE Houston (Hobby), TX(Zone 9a)

I've had mine anywhere from 1" to 2" from the tops... Long as the leaves aren't touching the bulb...

Fort Worth, TX(Zone 8a)

We're working on getting the second light up. Mark's cleaning it off right now. It was very dusty.

Thumbnail by stephanietx
Alba, TX(Zone 8a)

Wow, stephanietx, you have really nice handwriting. LOL, I have to use my label maker or I would never recognize what I had written at plant out! I have some seedlings right now for which I hand wrote the labels. Good thing I stored the original seed packets together in on ziplock bag. I had to check back when I got the label maker home to make good labels! I think I missed something, what is the plastic for?

Fort Worth, TX(Zone 8a)

We have a space heater at the bottom of the shelving unit. The plastic is to create a mini greenhouse and to direct the heat up to the shelves rather than out to the room. If it wasn't so dang cold, we wouldn't be using the heater, but with the cold weather this week, we decided to turn on the heater.

Cleburne, TX(Zone 8a)

Quote from Gymgirl :
►Stock up on kitty litter trays at the $1 store ($1.29/per). While each tray holds only 12 plastic cups, they are much sturdier than regular flats. Can fit three trays end to end under a 2 ft. light.


When you say "$1 store," do you mean Dollar Store or Dollar General or ??? Already looked at $1 Tree and not there.

Thanks,
G

SE Houston (Hobby), TX(Zone 9a)

We've got a huge "Nothing Over One Dollar" store here that has tons of plasticware, baskets, cheapie glassware, & household items.

Yesterday, I got the same trays for $1.09 each. Gotta remember that salesman!

SE Houston (Hobby), TX(Zone 9a)

Ok. I was putzin' around the seedlings and have made another observation regarding the 4" nursery pots vs. the 2" 6-paks I used to sow bell pepper seeds. I took a picture that should show the difference between seeds sown the same day. All have received the same treatment, under the same conditions. Only difference is the size of the pots they were sown in.

Look at the size of the true leaves on the seedlings in the 4" pots vs. the seedlings in the 6-paks. And those are the largest of the 6-pak seedlings!

Next go 'round, I'll only sow seeds in 4" nursery pots or the 15-cell deep rooting system.

This message was edited Feb 3, 2011 8:03 PM

Thumbnail by Gymgirl
Fort Worth, TX(Zone 8a)

Note: Do not use any fish type amendments in your water when watering your seedlings if you have cats.

Fort Worth, TX(Zone 8a)

I watered with the warm water and a bit of liquid seaweed last night. This morning, my first 2 bell peppers have popped through!

SE Houston (Hobby), TX(Zone 9a)

Steph,
You rock! Here's a couple other tips/observations. During the daytime, I turn the heat down to 55, and the grow rooms get cool. In the evenings/night I turn the heat up to 78, so it's warmer. Even though it's in reverse, the seedlings are growing in simulated outside day/night conditions. Bright & warm, then cool & dark.

Since I stopped adding light kits (may add only one more shelf next season), I have to run the lights day & night and rotate the trays. When they're rotated out of the light, I block as much light to the trays as I can to simulate night for them.

I've also observed they seem to do their growing at "night" in the cool-dark, 'cause I keep having to raise the lights in their "morning," when they go back under the lights.

Hope this helps.

Linda

Fort Worth, TX(Zone 8a)

When it warms up some, Mark's going to venture into the garage and/or shed and see if he can find the other set of shelving supports. That way I can have one area for sprouting and then a second area for lights, or just have enough space for 2 sections of lights.

Fort Worth, TX(Zone 8a)

I think I'm the only one posting to this thread, but many of my peppers are starting to come up. I think it was the warm water/liquid seaweed mixture I used on them the other night.

This is so exciting!!

SE Houston (Hobby), TX(Zone 9a)

Steph,
You're not alone! Just waiting for the other Zone 8a-9a veggie grower to get in gear and start posting.

SE Houston (Hobby), TX(Zone 9a)

Update on the tomatoes. Tiny trees!

Thumbnail by Gymgirl
Cleburne, TX(Zone 8a)

Linda and Stephanie, I'm here too !! This is my first experience with this. FINALLY got my first 3 flats planted last night. 18 tomatoes and 48 misc flowers. I'm using the PVC lightstand and mini greenhouse kits.

Question about temp for germination: What temperature range is necessary? We turn the heat down to about 60 at night. Last night I covered the top section that the flats are on with a sheet and the temp was 78 when I uncovered this morning. Will need to monitor it closely today to see what I need to adjust.

DH and I built one of these lightstands for our neighbor lady about a month ago and she has had fantastic results. She uses her oven light for germination. Then moves them to the lightstand. She is having so much fun with it, I think she will have enough veggie plants for everyone in town!! But I have to actually use my oven for baking and so trying to keep the temp regulated on my lightstand.

Glenna

Thumbnail by Dogs_N_Petunias
Hutto, TX(Zone 8b)

Stephanie,

I'm following this thread, too. : )

Glenna, the night time temps of 60 are actually good for your tomatoes once they have germinated and are potted up. Until then, the 78-degree temp would be pretty good. I use a heat mat set for just over 80 degrees for my germination. Seems to work pretty well for tomatoes and peppers!

Here is a photo of the first batch of tomato babies. I have them in "disposable" 3.5-inch pots that I bought last year. They are about the same weight as the heavy-duty solo cups, but are much easier to arrange in trays. I can't find the receipt, but they weren't expensive. They are easy to store and wash for reuse, too.

David

Thumbnail by dreaves
Alba, TX(Zone 8a)

I'm lurking. I haven't gotten much going yeat and that turned out to be a good think as we lost power at home on Friday. We managed, but I'm glad I only have two flats of tomato seedling to take care of. Now the weather should slowly be turning to the spring/summer side, so I'll be starting more. Did manage to get a few hollyhock seed planted for WS'in. And now that we have power I'll be setting up some light for the starts. I've got a lot more tomatoes to go, peppers, and eggplants. I did get some homemade seed mats made up with lettuce. It just dawned on me that I could do cabbage too! Duh!!! Some busy nights to come =)!

SE Houston (Hobby), TX(Zone 9a)

Thanks for keeping the thread alive!

Fort Worth, TX(Zone 8a)

Gnats!! How do I get rid of them?

Also, in the cups that have more than one seedling, should I remove it and place it in its own cup or just yank and pull? Decisions, decisions, decisions!!

Deep South, TX(Zone 9b)

You should cut the unwanted sprouts. Pulling them out may disturb the roots of the one you want to keep.

There are several recipes for bug spray. Most start with a mild soapy water. I've recently added alcohol to my soapy water with good results, but have not tried alcohol on sprouts.

I assume you mean indoors and may have white flies. I've read where white flies are attracted to yellow and making traps by coating yellow plasic tape with vegetable oil. I haven't tried this yet.

Hutto, TX(Zone 8b)

Stephanie, for tomato seedlings I often separate and have that many more plants. If you use the seed starting methods recommended on the tomato forum (I don't follow them exactly) then you MUST uproot the seedlings when you replant. I modify the technique--I use peat pellets instead of a larger container of seed starting mix. When I have two seedlings in one pellet I let them get established, then slice the pellet between the seedlings and pot each one separately. It works for me even if the seedlings are very close together.

David

SE Houston (Hobby), TX(Zone 9a)

Steph,
Since dmtom has advised you to cut the unwanted sprouts since you might "dIsturb the roots of the one you want to keep," I should not tell you that, out of the 212 tomato seedlings I started, the 208 that look like they will make it were multiples that I separated out of the community flats and starter cells/pots they germinated in. Only about 10 pots had a single seed to germinate. The remaining pots and cells had at least two seedlings each to germinate, and many had 3 or 4 in each. The two flats yielded approximately 45-55 seedlings each.

It was tedious to tease the roots apart, but I was committed to the process. The 4 seedlings that didn't make it were the absolute scrawniest runts that tried my last ounce of patience at the end of those marathon potting up sessions -- and they just got tossed 'cause I calculated they wouldn't grow fast enough to catch up.

No roots were damaged in the making of my veggie tales movie, "If You're Careful, They Will Grow".

Linda, who is saluting the 208 seedlings that were determined to live. ^^_^^

Thumbnail by Gymgirl
Cleburne, TX(Zone 8a)

Quote from dreaves :

Glenna, the night time temps of 60 are actually good for your tomatoes once they have germinated and are potted up. Until then, the 78-degree temp would be pretty good. I use a heat mat set for just over 80 degrees for my germination. Seems to work pretty well for tomatoes and peppers![/quote]

I'm hoping using the fluorescent shoplights for heat will work okay. I don't want to invest in a heat mat this year. When I got up this morning, it was 80 on the shelf of lightstand I've covered with plastic tablecloth to retain heat for germination. The only heat is from the two 2-tube 4' shoplight fixtures. When the central HVAC is on, it starts fluctuating up to 84, so I uncovered part of it.

[quote="dreaves"]
Here is a photo of the first batch of tomato babies. I have them in "disposable" 3.5-inch pots that I bought last year. They are about the same weight as the heavy-duty solo cups, but are much easier to arrange in trays. I can't find the receipt, but they weren't expensive. They are easy to store and wash for reuse, too.


Beautiful plants. I got the disposable perforated pots for $1 each from Novoselenterprises.com. That was for the 18 cell and 24 cell type. Can't remember if that was on sale or regular price.

Glenna



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