February 11, 2012

Sprouting Eggplant and Peppers

Eggplant and peppers starting to come up.
The first peppers to peak up out of the soil are the spicy Santa Fe Grande peppers.
Malaysian Dark Red eggplant peaking up out of the soil.
More Malaysian Dark Red eggplant straightening up towards the light.
The Green Raveena eggplant were the very first plants to sprout.
Replaced the cover that came with the Burpee Self Watering Planting System with plastic wrap.
Styrofoam shipping containing planted with Carantan leek seeds.
The lid from the styrofoam shipping container makes a perfect tray.
Peat pellets planted with Calabrese broccoli and fifteen varieties of tomatoes.
The eggplants and peppers are starting to come up from the soil after being planted fourteen days ago. Which is actually pretty good considering the house is unheated during the day and it can drop to 50 degrees Fahrenheit. Out of the seven varieties of peppers planted only the spicy Santa Fe Grande peppers have sprouted from seed purchased at Baker Creek Seed Co. Peppers are notoriously difficult to start but bottom heat and a planting medium that doesn't include peat moss seems to help. Peat moss truly seems to inhibit the sprouting of peppers, perhaps it's the high acidity. The Burpee self watering planting system uses a coconut alternative planting medium, which seems to be working well as I've only needed to water once in two weeks but I had to press the soil down firmly into the container to make sure it came into contact with the bottom watering mat. I also replaced the biodegradable clear cover that came with the Burpee system with plastic wrap which could be tucked under the container, otherwise it kept flying off with any breeze from a closing door. The plants were just moved into a warm corner of the bathroom under a bright lamp, hopefully this will hasten the growth of the rest of the sweet peppers and eggplants which can take a month to sprout.

Green Raveena was the first eggplant to sprout and it is a F1 hybrid started from seed purchased from Pinetree Seeds. Flea beetles wreak devastation on my eggplants every year which means very low yields of eggplants. Last year not a single fruit was born from three plants and the plants stayed pitifully tiny. So in an effort to get large beautiful harvests of eggplants and to outsmart the flea beetles the plants have been started very early which will require transplanting to larger pots, I will be trialling five varieties including one F1 hybrid, dill and basil will be planted around the plants, and newspaper will be laid at the base of the plants.

At work we get many items shipped in styrofoam coolers, so I thought it would be excellent to use them to start Carantan leeks in and the lid made a great tray for little fiber pots filled with seed starting mix. The styrofoam containers would probably make great planters or grow boxes too.

I went ahead and planted fifteen different varieties of tomatoes today in peat pellets: Costoluto Genovese, Ingegnoli Gigante Liscio, Pantano Romanesco, San Marzano Lungo #2, Break O Day, Granny Cantrell German Red, Jersey Giant, Riesentraube, Large Red Cherry, Beefsteak, Cosmonaut Volkov, Brandywine, Burpee Beefsteak, Djena Lee's Golden Girl, and Red Grape tomato.

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