My tomato plants raised on the windowsill don't transition very well in the open. Yes I do keep them in the shade for a week or so before planting.
I always looks at these gourgeous seedlings they sell at nurseries.....
I wonder about direct seeding of tomatoes, eggplant, peppers groundcherries and the like. Has anyonbe tried that?
On the other hand I wonder if I presprout pumkin inside so that the pumkin/squash is past the yummy state for mice - did anyone try this?
In my garden, the season is not long enough to grow tomatoes, eggplant, and peppers from seed. Groundcherries are a weed. I suspect that it sprouts from last year's roots, but some seeds are likely to grow sometimes too.
Pumpkins and squash seem particularly susceptible in my garden to transplant shock, so I always direct seed them. But if the transplant shock is less traumatic to the plant than the mice, then it seems like a good strategy;
In my neck of the woods, I get lots of volunteer tomatoes, mostly because I leave a lot of ripe less-than-perfect tomatoes laying around my gardens. If the volunteers come up in a good spot, they seem to do as well or better than the ones I plant as seed indoor and then transplant outside.
I get the same results with spaghetti squash. In both cases, the seeds that mother nature plants do better than the seeds I direct plant.
We direct seed tomatoes, squash, and other things. Some things we're just working up: peppers and okra. Sometimes we do transplant sprouts, too, but we have a long enough growing season that its not a requirement. We also get lots of volunteer tomatoes. Never had the slightest luck with aubergine.
Since we save and plant our own seed, we have plenty and just do lots and lots of it. The success rate seems to be lower than one might otherwise achieve, but the ones that take are strong and tend to produce. I think it'd be easy to experiment: just go to the farmers' market and buy some examples you like and plant those seeds and see what happens. It can't hurt and wouldn't cost much.
We started using these little tunnel greenhouses for greens in the winter the past two years. They've been very productive. In the spring when they get warm, we pull some greens and direct seed cucurbits in the last line at the edge of the group of greenhouses. When they get too hot we remove the plastic for the summer, pull the last bolted greens, and let the cucurbits sprawl. We had butternut squash, bottle gourd, cucumbers, some kind of brightly colored little Indian squash or pumpkins, and zucchinis (the zukes and butternuts are new and exotic around here).
Works at a residential alternative high school in the Himalayas SECMOL.org . "Back home" is Cape Cod, E Coast USA.
I have two types of cherry tomatoes that have self seeded for about 8 years. I'm pretty sure one is Garden Delight and the other Tommie Toe. The Tommie Toe is better. It's a much smaller plant than the original, but I don't give them much care at all. No staking or fertizer. Just pick a few plants that come up in convenient spots and keep them weeded. They more than productive enough. I also have a strain of Crimson Sweet watermelon that is semiwild. I've been growing it for about ten years and saving seeds from volunteer plants as much as possible. They come up at the right time and have plenty of time to mature. The melons are getting pretty inbred though, so not sure what they'll do next. They're bigger and have harder,slower germinating seeds so far. Weathers been terrible the last two years. I need a more typical year to reevaluate them.
I have grown competition pumpkins. The ones that you mention forklift and harvest in the same sentence, pallet sized pumpkins. This is how you start the big ones (cot leaves 4" long, but it works for smaller ones)
It takes 8 days to force a pumpkin seedling into setting out. For non giant types, use a nursery gallon. Cut the sides twice to the bottom. This gives you a pot that will lay open when you want it. Put a ring or two of duct tape around it to hold it shut. Line with soy ink newspaper, one sheet should do it. Then fill with your soilless potting mix, already soaked up for 24 hours. Prepare the pot except lining and filling until farther in.
Find a nice plastic box (I use a ferro rocher hazelnut chocolate box, nice visibility that is quite flat) and line it with a layer of unprinted cheap paper toweling cut to fit. Cut a second piece of toweling the same size. Find a nice warm place in your house, like on top of the fridge or (I used to use on top the TiVo) Where you pick should go 85-88f, no higher. 85 is great.
Take an emery nail file and file the edge of your seed or seeds to almost breaking through. Do not file the pointy end where you see a hole, that is where the root will come out. You file the edge to make getting the seed case off easier. Soak the seeds for 8-12 hours in room temperature water that was left sit to get rid of chlorine or chloranimines in the water, left sit for a day to offgas. Then soak the seeds.
Wet the paper towel to just this side of soggy. You do not want it dry but you do not want it sopping wet. Lay your seeds on the surface. Wet the second towel to the same consistency and put it over the seeds. Put the lid on and put your seeds in the warm spot. Check every 12 hours after the first 24 for signs of sprout. Light doesn't matter. Warmth and moisture does.
Once you get an inch of sprout, prepare the pot. Plant the sprouted seed edge on not flat and angle the sprout into the dirt about 45 degrees down. Barely cover the top edge of the seed, do not mound dirt but plant it this way. Put in upper 70's to lower 80's spot with good light. Check a few times a day for the seed case to come up out of the dirt. When it does, gently and I do mean GENTLY, help the case off. This should be about the end of the first 96 hours.
Keep pot moist but not soggy and keep the bright light close so it doesn't leg. Don't let the leaves touch the light though. In four more days you should have both cots well open, the first leaf going and the second leaf may be showing (showing you which way the main vine will run, towards leaf two).
Plant outside in the hill, orienting the plant the way you want it to run. Take the duct tape off and plant the plant WITH the newspaper. Peatpots I have never had break down, the newspaper mostly disappears within a week. It keeps the fragile roots from being traumatized (still handle gently). Set your plant, and give it protection for a week or so, at night, and wait for the vine to climb to heaven then 'land' and start training your plant.
This method works for most curcurbitae. When growing competition plants, they get large fast and they will be potbound in that gallon in four days. The duct taped pot allows you to open the pot to minimize root trauma as well as the layer of newspaper. Happy growing.
I cannot find the picture where I had two 7 day old plants, one was a giant that gave me a 700# pumpkin (only one fruit set to the vine, btw) and a sugar pie (8# average fruit) pumpkin, and the difference was astounding. The giant had just been planted and first leaf was dinner plate sized, the other was in the pot yet and set next to the giant. Identical plants but major scale difference....
Gravity is a harsh mistress. But this tiny ad is pretty easy to deal with:
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