This year, I’ll be trying to grow 3 types of food plants I’ve never grown before: okra, peppers, and tomatoes. All 3 need to be started indoors to get a head start on the growing season, so you either have to start them from seed yourself or buy starts from a nursery. Being a glutton for punishment, I’ve decided to try starting them indoors from seeds.
In addition to the vegetables listed above, I’ve also decided to start some cosmos and some bee balm as well. I’ve never grown bee balm before, so this is another experiment for the year. As for the cosmos, in the past, I’ve just scattered the seeds directly onto the soil where I wanted them to grow. I haven’t had the best of luck with this method, though, so this year, I’m going to try to baby the along for a bit before planting them outside.
A brief note: I’ll be mentioning some specific products in this post, but it’s not a sponsored post and I purchased everything I’m posting about.
Most of the seeds I’m growing are heirlooms:
- Evertender Okra, from Southern Exposure Seeds, originally from India
- Buena mulata peppers, from Truelove Seeds, an African American heirloom
- Petit marseillais peppers, from Truelove Seeds
- Bee balm, from Truelove Seeds
- Black cherry tomatoes, from Renee’s Garden
The Sungold cherry tomatoes are a hybrid, and the cosmos are open pollinated but not an heirloom. Both are from Renee’s Garden.
I ordered a seed starting kit, pictured above. The set up includes a tray and vented cover, a heating mat, LED lights, a metal contraption for hanging the lights, and 72 discs of compressed peat. I would have preferred to avoid using peat, but it came with the kit.
I’m only using 24 of the discs. My garden just isn’t big enough to fit that many new plants. As it is, I’m theoretically starting more than I’ll need. I figure if I have too many, I can thin them out and give away some seedlings. And if I have too few of anything, I’ll have learned something and can use that space to grow something else.
I’ve arranged my seeds according to the diagram below. Each row is 4 cells/discs.
Row 1: Evertender okra, 1 seed per cell
Row 2: Buena mulata peppers, 3 seeds per cell
Row 3: Petit marseillais peppers, 3 seeds per cell
Row 4: Cherry tomatoes, 2 cells sungold, 2 cells black cherry, ≥3 seeds per cell
Row 5: Cosmos, 2 seeds per cell
Row 6: Bee balm ≥3 seeds per cell
The tomato and bee balm seeds were tiny, so i probably got a lot of seeds in each cell. I’ll just thin the seedlings as needed.
And now, I water and wait. With luck, I’ll have about 2 dozen baby plants in a few weeks. I suspect that’s when the hard part will begin.