Moser's Garden Produce 
STARTING PLANTS (for vegetable transplants)

MAP & DIRECTIONS

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VEGETABLES

HERBS

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FEATURE CROP

SUPPLIES:  We try to germinate all of our bedding plants from seed. We buy the best varieties we think will perform well from reputable seed companies. Some attention is given to buying a sterile potting medium, although many seem to work well. We don't pay extra for fertilizers mixed into the medium because we feel it can be added in watering solution more easily. Standard trays are used to start all but melon crops where spending a little extra for the peat pots pays off. All trays are dipped (completely submersed) in a chlorine bleach solution (1/40)  and allowed to dry before each seasons reuse.

GERMINATION:  A metal ruler the length of the trays is used to level planting medium and to create 5-6 rows in which seeds are placed. A vibrating seed dispenser allows seeds to be placed at approximately 1/2"  intervals within rows. A fine medium (starter mix) is then lightly & evenly spread over the flat to uniformly cover all seeds by approximately 4X their diameter. A flat piece of board is used to press soil down, firming the mixture around the seeds. Flats are then identified and placed into a larger tray containing a mixture or water and soluble fertilizer. I usually spray over the top lightly but the water will usually spread quickly up through the medium.  I allow trays to drain briefly and place in kitchen garbage bags (mini greenhouses) with end tucked under. I set trays all around shelves in my heated basement (check germination temperature requirements) and  followup by peaking into bags every day starting at 4 days for fast germinators like tomatoes. 

POST- GERMINATION:  As soon as plant start to poke through to soil surface I bring them to an artificially lighted area as pictured below. Intense light is necessary and not real costly if florescent lights are used. I rigged the setup below to hang from ceiling eye bolts originally meant to support wicker chairs. There are four sets of florescent light fixtures supplying light for each tier. Chains holding lights from separated  pipes can be lengthened  at first and raised as plants grow.

Below are pictured a few examples of vegetable transplants: thyme , tomatoes, peppers & leeks. Basic seed germination practices (spacing, temperature and even preemergence light) should be handled differently. Once plants surface give plenty of light, don't over-water or allow to overcrowd. 

                         

Thyme barely penetrating soil. This is one herb crop that prefers cool germination temperatures.  It is also broadcast seeded over the flat because of unreliable germination.

A few tomato plants  go a long way so if you seed multiple varieties in the same tray mark the trays in one corner to identify and keep a backup record elsewhere.

Melons are started directly into jiffy pots or peat pots. They don't like handling as much as most other transplants.

                      

These peppers have already been transplanted once into cell packs. the now are becoming crowded and need transplanted again to larger cell packs or pots. 

Leeks are usually not transplanted to packs  in our operation, mainly because of the net return per plant. We start a little later and then transplant directly to the garden.

 

Regular care & watering are very important tasks to give young plants a healthy start.

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