Moser's Garden Produce
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.
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.
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
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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