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It's early, but starting AZ seedlings

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It's early, but starting AZ seedlings

Post  jkahn2eb on 12/19/2011, 8:15 pm

Frost date is March 1st, so this is almost ten weeks prior but when I look at my seedlings after just 6 weeks compared to what I see people buying at the store, mine are so small and theirs are already producing little tomatoes.

I know they use fancier lights and better technology compared to my generic workbench fluorescent bulbs, but I figure what the heck. Just doing the tomatoes, peppers and eggplant this early which'll give 'em about 9 weeks of growing.

Will use a west facing window this time for late afternoon sun in addition to the lamps...

Will keep the fans in the room runnin' to make strong stems...

Will move the seedlings from the vermiculite into larger pots so the plant can focus on root growth rather than stem growth (if that's possible)...

Any thoughts or suggestions welcome.
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Re: It's early, but starting AZ seedlings

Post  camprn on 12/26/2011, 7:01 pm

Hi JK, I soooooooooo understand wanting to get going with gardening!!. I have at least another 6-8 weeks before I SHOULD start planting seeds inside, but I want to plant some NOW! LOL Smile Smile

First off, did you start your seeds in the house last year? How did that go for you? Secondly, in addition to the gentle wind your planning, many seedlings will need 14-16 hours of daylight per day to grow well and strong. There are a host of other considerations, but I think the prime consideration is the timing of seed sowing.
At this site from The Old Farmer's Almanac you can plug in your zip code, it calculates your average last spring frost date, does all the math for many garden vegetables and tells you when to sow indoors, outdoors and transplant into the garden.

As far as lighting, I use a 4 foot shop 2 lamp shop light with the full spectrum/daylight bulbs, with pretty good success. There are several threads here on the forum from last year when folks were starting their plants indoors, you may find some good ideas there...
Good luck and please remember to let us all know how it goes! What a Face

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There are certain pursuits which, if not wholly poetic and true, do at least suggest a nobler and finer relation to nature than we know. The keeping of bees, for instance. ~ Henry David Thoreau

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Re: It's early, but starting AZ seedlings

Post  jkahn2eb on 12/27/2011, 2:39 pm

Thanks Camprn. Started a few - the peppers and tomatoes, as I'm hoping to get them a bit bigger than they were in previous indoor attempts at the 6-8 week mark due to my shortened growing season, at least for the tomatoes. Peppers seem to do ok out here in the summer. Most of my tomato seedlings have popped up and now I spend my time with them not only using a fan to toughen them but also berating them verbally to make the stronger. I'll hopefully have good things to report.
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Re: It's early, but starting AZ seedlings

Post  duhh on 12/31/2011, 8:20 pm

We started our about a week ago. I had wanted to sart them early Dec, but time just kept getting away from us. I can't wait until Spring! Although, I am loving this weather right now!
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Re: It's early, but starting AZ seedlings

Post  jkahn2eb on 1/2/2012, 11:11 pm

I know - the weather has been awesome. 70 the past week and 80 today. My remaining tomatoes are loving it.

Duh, you've started your seeds that early in Dec? Which ones? I'm trying to get a jump on tomatoes, peppers and eggplants. First true leaves are popping up.
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Re: It's early, but starting AZ seedlings

Post  jkahn2eb on 1/2/2012, 11:12 pm

I have broccoli seedlings with their first true leaves. I want to see if I can get a few more going - how big do they need to be before I toss 'em in the garden?
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Re: It's early, but starting AZ seedlings

Post  duhh on 1/3/2012, 1:11 am

Last year I started some tomatoes Oct 11th last year for Christmas gifts. I kept one for myself and loved the size of the plant by mid febuary. I just left it outside and then brought inside when the nights were cold. By Feb the one I kept was almost to big for the galon sized pot I had it in. Unfortunately, I kept a small orange cherry tom, that I ended up not liking, but the plant did great. My aunt recieved the other three. Green Zebra, Aunt ruby german Green and a Brandywine. All did great and produced early in her spring garden.

So this year I kept meaning to plant them in Nov, but like I said, before I knew it, it was Dec! Not sure how long they have been in now.. I thought only a week, but it must be at least 2 almost 3. My hubby hasn't thinned them yet and needs to. (He does all the seedling stuff) The biggest is about 2-3 inches tall and has some true leaves already. Very Happy Oh, also we got some grow lights so I don't have to take them in and out all winter. Next year I plan on having a mini green house or something.

We are focusing more on paste tomatoes this spring. I want to do some canning!

This is what our tomato and pepper seedlings look like tonight:



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Re: It's early, but starting AZ seedlings

Post  jkahn2eb on 1/3/2012, 11:58 am

Here is my simple operation using those magic blue plastic cups that come in a sleeves at the dollar store. The bottom halves make great grow trays and the tops cut off seem to do a decent job protecting seedlings from bugs in the garden. The jalepenos were the last to sprout but they've taken off past all four types of tomatoes. Some of the tomatoes already have several true leaves.





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Re: It's early, but starting AZ seedlings

Post  newstart on 1/3/2012, 2:23 pm

So we you guys start your seeds I see that you put in many seeds in each cup. Later you thin these out or plant all and see what makes it lol ALso how do you thin seeds without damage
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Re: It's early, but starting AZ seedlings

Post  jkahn2eb on 1/3/2012, 3:01 pm

I have them just in vermiculite the first couple weeks. When dropping seeds into the vermiculite for tomatoes, peppers, etc I do my best to space them a little. As I've confirmed today, it's best to pull them out once they start showing their first set of true leaves as they are now just starting to tangle their little roots.

The ratio for length of stem : length of root seems to be 1:1.75

Since this morning I've separated many and even planted a few broccoli outside with only their first true leaves. Temps are to be in the 70's the next week but I have the new broccoli protected.
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