Thursday, March 28, 2013

Transplant Seeding

The time is near to start seed if you're planning to grow transplants of tomato family plants. Count backwards from your desired date to plant out your transplants to determine a seeding date. Beginning gardeners often start plants too early and end up with overly large plants of declining quality that have outgrown their pots.

Tomatoes require 5 to 7 weeks to grow a transplant. Peppers and eggplants require slightly longer, perhaps 7 to 8 weeks. Remember to allow a week longer if growing on a windowsill or under low light conditions. In a greenhouse with good light and temperature control, a shorter growing time is needed. If planning to transplant out the last week of May in Denver, the first or second week of April is a good target date for seeding.

Other typical transplants, primarily vine crops, should be seeded later. Squash, cucumber and melons require only 2 or 3 weeks to produce the small-sized transplant needed. The root system on large vines does not transplant well on these crops.

Just a note if you haven't already acquired seed of tomatoes. Tomato Fest out of California is a good source of heirloom tomato seeds that is not well known in Colorado. This is my source for seed of 'Azoychka', a yellow tomato that is well adapted to our area as I've written in previous posts.

'Azoychka' (see photo)  produces 3 inch tomatoes with good acid to sugar balance and nice citrusy flavor notes for those who like yellow tomatoes. It is a 70 day indeterminate type that comes from Russia. This variety rated in the top ten heirlooms sold by Tomato Fest and deserves a try in your Front Range garden.

Photo credit: Planting seed to grow transplants and 'Azoychka' tomato, both Carl Wilson

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