I want to start raising my own veggies from seed in the spring before it's time to plant, since it always costs so much to go buy the plants in the 6-packs and 4-packs at Home Depot. I've read up on the starting of the seeds, and I have some large covered trays to start the seeds in, but I was wondering if anyone knows where I can order a goodly number of those six pack plastic things that I used to buy my little tomato plants in. I don't even know how to search for them online (flats? trays?). I'm just trying to figure out what to put the seedlings into once they're too big for the trays, and before the temp has warmed up enough for them to go into the garden. Anyone?
if you got a local nursury that actually plants plants, you could go up there, and ask them for their emptied seed trays. i worked at one, and they threw the seed trays away!!! gold mine of trash to treasure!!
I always keep any trays etc that I buy plants in, they just need a wash out for re-use, if I dont use them in 2 years, I ain't going to, so then I get rid, at the garden centers/nurseries, they usually have a stack laid our for anyone to take for free, also look out for the trays used for carrying small pots etc, place your re-potted seeds into them and it makes it so much easier for watering, moving and taking to the garden to plant, these can also be re-used again and again,
Look for garden supplies on the net, it will bring up lots of companies to buy from, my advice, if you are going to get into doing your own seeds, buy the best you can afford at the time, there are some real flimsy ones on the market and when you remove your little plants, they fall to pieces, another idea, is pots made from compost, looks like heavy cardboard, brown in colour, these are good if you have some veg or flowers that dont like their roots disturbed as you will plant the pot into the garden and it rots down into the soil. If you are not starting your seeds off till spring, then you should only be transplanting your seedlings once, first grow in the pots or trays where the seeds germinate, then when two good sets of leaves are there, you transplant them into individual pots, trays or whatever you choose, by the time they need potted again, that is when they should go out in the garden or they will grow weak and leggy, before you plant them out into the garden, harden them off out doors for about a week, but bring inside again each evening till they harden up to the cooler open temps out doors in the garden, if you dont, the little plants could collapse with such a shock. good luck. WeeNel.
I use egg cartons the cardboard type they are just like the ones weenel is talking about and you dont have to disturbed the roots as they rot down in the soil and they are FREE I get friends and family to save their egg cartons for me during the winter
I am going to suggest things you already know, but just in-case some new folks want to try veg from seeds, there are some veg that dont like the roots to be disturbed like at transplant outdoor time, things like carrots, beetroot etc dont take to roots being disturbed at all, and things like beans and peas do better if the seeds are started off in really deep pots or ones called root runners, so I save all the kitchen roll cardboard centers when the roll is used up, fill them with compost and pop 2 bean or pea seeds into them and tie them together for making them stay upright, you then place them into a shallow carton/tray and you then water them, once they are going out into the garden, you just plant the cardboard tube also with the seedlings and it gets composted under the ground, it also helps to keep any mice away from the seeds as that is a trouble I have here, being surrounded by fields and woodland. lastly, those clear cartons mentioned above, can be used as mini greenhouses for some seeds and give extra heat too. good luck, WeeNel.
Toilet paper rolls work well also. I usually direct sow things like beans, peas, carrots and beets. I have limited space for seedlings to need to use the area wisely. Mine is usually devoted to tomatoes, peppers that sort of thing.
I direct sow mine also, but I wait till early spring, some folks have a shorter season and like to start the peas and beans off indoors for an early start, but carrots etc, should always be direct sown as they wont grow if roots are disturbed, happy sowing when the season starts doccat. WeeNel.
How do you set up your row covers? I want to put some over a couple of beds for early planting, but I'm not sure how high they should be. I thought of using 12' one-inch PVC on rebar driven into the ground, but will this make them too high?
So you don't hoop them up off the ground, but just cover the row of plants, and then uncover in the morning? I saw photos of row covers that had little hoops over the rows, that's why I ask. If the hoops are not necessary, it sure would save a lot of trouble.
They are stiffer than they appear. These are probably a wire similar to chicken wire and covered with polymer. So I just "hoop" them in position and hold the sides down with bricks. I can prop the opening with a stick or piece of scrap 2 x4.
glendalekid, if you use a brand similar to "reemay" you can lay those directly on the plants. They are lightweight enough that as the plants grow the reemay will easily be lifted up with the plants. You will want to secure the edges though, either with soil or with anchors of some kind (rocks, bricks, or store-bought anchor pins).
(It sounds like what doccat has are more along the lines of what is referred to as a garden tunnel or cloche and are self-supporting.)
You can get a good price on reemay at Johnnyseeds.com
Danneld, if you visit some local garden centers they will give you their empties sometimes. Or, for just a small garden you can buy your cell packs/trays at garden centers and/or big box stores. The most common size will be a tray with 36 cells, two of those set ups are inexpensive and 72 plants really go a long way in your garden!
You're welcome. I love reemay! I use it for protection from frost, as a help in moderating soil temperature, and also as an insect barrier (its original purpose). If you ever get into saving seeds and need to bag blossoms it is also good for that purpose, too.
Good going...sounds like you enjoy eating the good foods, too!
Peas can handle cool weather pretty good but the ground temperature really needs to be around 50-60º for quick germination. If you rough up your soil (fork it, till it, etc) that'll not only aerate it but also allow the sun to warm it up much faster than if the soil were to stay flat/compacted. Although you can sow your peas 4-6 weeks before your last frost, if the ground is too cool the seeds will just sit there and sometimes rot in the ground. Breaking the ground and using the reemay (or even cheap plastic) to warm the ground will get you a head start. (But don't use the plastic on the pea plants once they are up, go to reemay if you feel the need.)
Row covers will do your broccoli and cauliflower justice, just don't let them overheat under them or they'll tend to bolt prematurely.
You're getting excited about the growing season coming up, aren't ya!! ;>)
i use the trays then i go to plastic dixie cups.
I was going to experiment with some hoop frames with pvc piping the size the bends. I wanted to do hat for my eggplants. Or do a cattle panel cold frame too .
but that reemay sounds excellent !
Thanks for the advice on the peas and such. I LOVE peas, English or Snow -- doesn't matter. I tried to grow some this fall, but that 100+ weather the entire month of August caused me to plant them too late, I think. They grew very well, blossomed a lot -- but not a single pea pod. Did I plant them so late that there were no insects for pollination? What do you think? I finally just let the frost have them the other day. Now they are part of my new lasagna bed.
My broccoli and cauliflower did very well. I bought a microwave steamer on Amazon for $13.95. It works just great. I found that I can put herbs/spices down in the water and the flavor will be in the veggies after they are steamed.
I am soooo looking forward to the spring planting and using all the info I've gotten here in the last year.
Karen--I think I read that peas self-pollinate, so that might not be your problem. How hot was it when they were flowering? I know they like it cool, but I have no idea what happens to them to stop production when it isn't. I'll be interested to see what you find out--I've got peas coming along for spring, it'll be nice to know what to expect!
By the time they got to flowering size, it was end of October/first part of November -- temps in 60s and 70s day time and 40s and 50s night time. I thought that should have been cool enough. I was supposed to start them in August but because of the heat wave the whole month, I didn't plant them until September. So, if they self-pollinate, then I don't know what was wrong. They flowered like crazy but not one single pea pod.
I'm going to try again in the spring about mid-February or so. I'll take Shoe's advice and warm the soil, then plant. We'll see how that goes.
Bummer, Karen! I just checked my Rodale's Vegetable Garden Problem Solver, which was of absolutely no use on this one. The only thing it mentioned as a problem for after blooms form is "don't let the soil dry out"... not very helpful. :(
I appreciate your looking anyway. Thanks. While we did have a very dry summer, we've had good rains fairly often since September. I don't know what to think as they were big, healthy plants that grew very rapidly, produced lots of blooms, not one of which turned into a pea pod. Very odd.
I grew snow peas in late spring and had no problem. I had only planted a few because I was told it was too late to plant them. If I had planted more than 8 plants, I would have had snow peas all over the place because the vines produced pods like crazy. Lesson learned -- even if it's late in the season, plant plenty -- if they don't grow, the seeds were cheap.
Words to garden by, Karen! Last year I planted my snap peas in January. I had bad aphids which got most of the plants, but the one that produced kept my 2 kids and I in snack pods o'plenty! If the whole row had produced like that, I'd still have a freezer full!
Yep, this year I want to have some in my freezer, too. I have put in four more 4x8 beds so I'll have the space.
I had bad aphids on my tomatoes last year. I used 1 tsp of dish washing soap (like Ivory, not detergent) and 2 tbs of baking soda in a quart spray bottle of water. I sprayed the whole plants, top and bottom of leaves and all the stems, until they were dripping. I did this twice about three or four days apart. Do it early in the morning so they will dry before the sun comes out really strong. They were gone and didn't come back.
In CA, when I got aphids on my cynbidium orchids on the balcony, I just sprayed them really good and hard with the water hose, and that got rid of them. But I think that would be too rough on tomato and pea plants.
I'm sorry, I wrote aphids when I meant spider mites--big difference! :( I did try rinsing those mites off with water, and all I got was a bunch of wet mites. I think I read about a milk solution that's supposed to work, and if I see those little boogers come back I'll be out there with my sprayer!
BTW, I now have serious envy about your new garden space--wish I had the room for more too! :)
Jill, I have spider mite problems too but I tried one of those commericial insecticidal soaps. Got rid of the critters but also burnt the crap out of my plant leaves.. I was told to use some Ajax dishwashing soap with water to wash it off instead next time..
Karen, is there any reason why you put baking soda in the soap mixture??
The commercial miticide worked just fine for me (that's what I eventually ended up using), but cost a small fortune. I'd be much more inclined to go with something else next time, to save the kids' college funds...
Insecticidal soap is cheap and easy to make yourself, and I did find seveal places recommending insecticidal soap for mites as well as a strong spray of water. I know what you mean about the cost of store-bought stuff -- good grief!
That is a home-made formula I got from a thread here on DG. The soap is supposed to be the "sticker" and the baking soda to dry out their soft little bodies, I think. Anyway, it worked.
Interesting Karen, I will try the baking soda then.. I bought my commercial soap from HomeDepot and it was a bit pricey. I didn't mind that as much as the fact that it burnt the crap out of my banana, plumeria and orchid.. Live and learn I guess..
Folks...baking soda is used because of its fungicidal properties, not necessarily as an insecticide. The soap in the concoction that Karen is referring to above is to help the baking soda stick to the plant. However, if she put in a judicial amount of soap then that will certainly help to kill and/or deter insects.
Aphids are easily killed with a home-made soap solution. As far as dealing w/spider mites, commercial insecticidal soap works a bit better than home-made soap sprays because it can be made up much stronger. (And yes, be careful using any soap spray when full sun will hit the plant.) Pyrethrin and neem oil work even better.
Spider mites really wear me out. They love dry periods but yet will also thrive in moist areas. For quite a while it was believed misting plants, keeping the environment moist, would get rid of the mites. However, it seems the adults will survive just fine in moist areas BUT they tend to either slow down or stop reproduction altogether in those types of areas.
You could be right about the baking soda. It was part of the formula that I got from someone else. It was easy, cheap, worked, and did not burn the plants. That was good enough for me.
I tried Neem Oil for some kind of mites on my brugs last summer, and it didn't work for diddley. Spraying with water, on top and underneath of the leaves, every day did work. Maybe it was the "moisture" thing that got rid of them as then they did not produce a new generation. Just know that the Neem didn't work at all and the water did.
I believe that, Karen...sometimes I have much better luck with spraying water by itself, too. (As for Brugs, those things seem to always be needing to be sprayed with something...they're especially bad in my g-house over the Winter, regular bug magnets!) Dont'cha just love the "easy, cheap" formulas? I rely on quite a few of them. (I'm a miser, ya know!)
Neem is not a quick killer (not a contact spray) but rather works by halting the bug/insect from reproducing or growing into its next stage of growth. You really have to use it as soon as you see any pests. (It works great on my bean plants though and seems to have some sort of residual effect.)
Well, since the water treatment had zero effect for me on mites last year, I think a next go-round would be the neem oil. I suspect that, as dry as we tend to be out here, even full misting of the plants just raised the humidity up to where they're delighted!
Thanks for all the good advice, Shoe! As always, a veritable font of information! :)
I totally understand the cheap angle. I started looking for homemade remedies when an expensive one I bought didn't work. To add insult to injury, the spray bottle was made in such a way that the last 20% wouldn't even come out of the bottle. Sheesh! Ten bucks down the drain. So far, the easy, cheap, homemade ones are working just fine, so I'll stick with them.
I never saw any mites. The folks on the brug forum told me that was what the problem was. When I couldn't see any improvement after a week using the Neem Oil, I switched to the water spray. Although it took about 10 days for a total cure, I could see it was better after 3-4 days. Maybe I'll have a use for the Neem Oil on my bean plants this summer. I'll keep it in mind.
Funny thing about brugs - there was a brug growing in front of the apartment house where I lived in Long Beach CA. No one sprayed it for bugs. No one watered it except when the lawn got watered. No one fertilized it. No one pruned it. It flowered all year, dozens of blooms all the time. It was beautiful and had a wonderful lemony fragrance. And then there's mine here -- that I have to keep fussing with. Sigh!
You are probably right about the water spray in your dry climate. You probably made their day for them. Here it is already humid, so that's probably why it works for me.
Jill, "As always, a veritable font of information!" eh? Okay, I'll be the "wing ding" font! It sounds funner!
Karen, my brugs that I planted outside one year had no bug problems at all. I guess they like that "greenhouse environment", and down where you are you must have that year round. Sure hope you figure out a good way to keep them in check that makes it easy on ya.
(Guess I better quit posting off topic. Danneld might still be looking for those planting trays and such.)
My brug rows, several years ago, just coming on with flowers. It became a veritable jungle before the season ended.
Shoe, When I used the commercial insecticidal soap, I sprayed it and left it in the garage to dry. It never got direct sunlight cuz even indoors, the plants only got filtered sunlight.. That's why I thought it was the soap that burnt the plants not the sun.. Maybe the plants can tolerate sun at all if that's they case or the soap application was just too strong..
I usually buy plants at the feed store or garden, but I'd like to start some heirloom seeds. I never have any luck with seeds as they always damp off. What can I do about that?
Also am planning on getting some chicken wire and making row covers for my rows at least until they grow up to a height that my chickens won't dig them up. I'd like to use the chickens as a sort of pest control.Thought if I just roll off the wire and add some kind of stake to hold it into the ground. I read somewhere that they used their chickens like that.. ??
yea that's why I want to make the row covers. I figure it will help keep out the rabbits too. I don't see rabbits much around here, but you never know. We have coons too, I don' t know if they dig in the garden or not. A couple of years ago. I had trouble with armadillo's digging for grubs. I sprinkled some moth balls around where they were digging and that was the end of that. They do dig in the yard too though.
The spot I'm using now though is my uncle's fenced garden adjacent to the chicken pen. So I don't think I'll have problems with the armadillos but the coons get in anywhere they want. I don't know about the rabbits. I know my uncle used to trap (humane) stuff out there but most probably raccoons.
Oh the damping off I found some info ... talks about soaking seeds in a weak bleach solution to kill fungus.
make sure tools are fungus free by bleach or alcohol wash.
leave plenty of room for air to circulate.
Good drainage. I hope I don't have problems with it this year.
I didn't even think of getting the little short rolls of chicken wire.. doh.. I was thinking of like the 4 ft ones.. but the two foot ones will be perfect.
I am going to go out this week and water ( hopefully it will rain) and stretch out clear plastic over the rows to kill off the weeds.
my husband and I nether one are wanting to do the tiller again.. Our neighbor did it a couple of months ago and so Its' nice and tilled.. just need to get the new shoots coming up. Though I don't know... should I mound up the rows are leave the flat?
the problem I have out there is I don't have water. For the chickens I have an automatic waterer.. with a hose stretched the 70 ft from our house to the chicken pen. So I am going to have to get an "Y" to run a hose to the garden. but I think I might do the soda bottle idea of cutting the bottom out and putting the neck into the soil for easier watering the plants. We are metered out here so that would save money on the water bill.
I use that method of soda bottles or cut off milk jugs buried upside down between the plants. I have a very shallow well, so need to be very careful with the watering. Get your self some annual rye grass and oversow the area. It is an annual, just mow it off and plant right into it. That will smother out the weed seeds and add a little nitrogen fix to the area. Plus it will hold your soil in place until you can plant. Have you thought about getting some rain barrels to help supplement your water? Using graywater from your washer? Google that for more information. Very interesting.
all of our washing machine and bath water go into a cistern. and we pump it on to the yard. But my garden is probably half a block from the water source. and from the hose that pumps out the cistern. I put a "Y" on it and ran another hose to the garden.. Trying to work out there but the wind is horrible out here in Central Texas. Hopefully it will die down so my husband and I can get out there and get the plastic down.
That rye grass seed is a great idea..I'm thinking about leaving the grass in between the rows and just keeping it mowed. Cut down on the mud and sloppiness LOL rain barrels would be great except we have very little rain during the growing season. It gets parched out here. and the temps get up in the triple digets... So it's tough having outdoor plants here.
The murphys,, I could use that around the chickens? I've been worrying. Oh I also got some horticultural cornmeal. has anyone used that?
Even with little rain, rain barrels will take some of the pressure off for you. Grass between the rows is a good idea. The trick to keeping the weeds down is making sure there's something growing in that space and smothering out the weed seeds. Using heavy mulch on the veggies should help conserve the moisture as well.
Did I tell you guys that I am using the newspaper seed cups like Dave teaches in the video?
Yea.. I made tons in no time.. and I sat them in trays with pea gravel in the bottom. I have grow lights on them on cloudy days and at night. They are in a room that has solid windows from waist height up on the east and south side. As soon as the sun gets stronger .. and it comes early here, I'll maybe set them out for a couple of hours when they start coming up. I used to put the black cloth on the rows. It works for a season ... then stuff starts growing up in it. Here in CenTex... beggar lice is very hard to get rid of. When we have the right circumstances we try to burn it before the seeds can fall, but lately we haven't been able to do that because of the lack of wetness.
Yea I like the idea of grass.
Some of my seeds are finally coming up.. the one's in the pots. I had to replant a couple ...my sweet little Velcro kitty got into them... *sigh*
The outdoor seeds (sweet Peas) are coming up big time.
I don't know if I will use the paper cups again. the news paper ones are doing really well but the toilet paper/paper towel rollers are not. they are unwinding. So I don't know if I'll use them again. I liked the idea because it recycled. But I suppose that I can just go on and put them in the recycle box
agg.. Cats.. love em.. can't live with out them, but ...
It's supposed to get really cold this weekend, so I'm hoping all the cold weather stuff will be ok. My seedlings are coming up. Tomatoes, eggplant and artichoke.
Replant them now. if the come up double it's ok. Then put something some milk jugs over them with the bottoms cut out, with the hole open in the top.. till they grow up enough for the cat to leave them alone.
Moved the dirt (not sure anything will pop up) to a place the cats can't get to.
Also sowed a bunch of pepper seeds - ancho and chilaca - both from grocery store peppers - we'll see what happens. Put them with the beans & peas.
Frustrating to have rain this weekend, but the ground needs it
yes we had rain too.. i don't know for sure where you are in relation to the Waco area. I live right by Lake Whitney. We had storms and rain. but I take it when we can get it. I hope the seeds do ok.. I have planted Sweet chinese, tobasco, cayenne and some bell peppers. I ordered most of my seeds from Baker Creek.
The teepee for the pole beans survived the wind and rain just fine. No peppers popping up yet, but bought some tomato sets - yellow plum, grape, and some red lettuce that looked harvestable right now - repotted everything into bigger containers.
Thanks to the link Badseed posted at the beginning, I ended up purchasing some supplies from http://www.novoselenterprises.com/default.asp. The prices and shipping were better than other websites I checked out. I've already got other things in my shopping cart with them!