Back Forty

Seed starting day one

Normally I am chomping at the bit to start my seeds, but this year I’ve got more of a “whatever” attitude. I’ll probably feel differently once they begin to come up. I’m not planning to start many indoors, since I’m going to devote more space to beans, peas, and okra this year. I do want a couple of good slicer tomatoes and Stew gave me some Green Zebra seed she saved. I just ordered Roma and Amish Paste canning tomatoes from Southern Exposure Seed Exchange. Roma is a nice compact size, but Amish Paste is on the Slow Food Ark, so I decided to do a little of both in big pots again. I really dig the whole concept of the Slow Food Ark. For the slicers, I’m going to go with something new this year: Cherokee Purple. A couple of Radiator Charlie’s Mortgage Lifters, both varieties for a Slow Food tasting challenge. Maybe a few surprise heirloom tomatoes for fun. I always end up with way too many tomato plants and I gave a lot away last year.

But tonight, I’m starting some pepper plants, because I only have half a bag of seed starting mix. These will go into pots too. Peppers always take forever with me. Last year I bought an expensive heat mat, and it helped greatly, but it conked out within a couple of weeks. So this year I’m using an old heating pad. So there. I’ll do just a few of several different kinds including:

Red Marconi – a long sweet pepper from the seed saving table at CFSA conference.
Alma Paprika, from Pinetree – bugs ate them up last year. Will change location and be more diligent with the insecticidal soap if necessary.
Pimiento, from Pinetree – same problem, but planted in two areas and the other area did okay. They were stolen a lot, probably the Critter. Chicken wire?
Hungarian Wax, saved seeds from a Fedco mix last year – I am guessing at the variety name. It was my favorite by far.
Some Like It Hot mix, from Fedco – above mentioned mix, mystery fun!

Okay, I planted those, and had a few more spaces so I planted a few eggplant seeds. All from 2005 or 2004 packets, but last year they came up fine. We’ll call it an experiment in seed fertility. I plant them in pots and try to keep them 2-3 feet above the ground – seems to help with flea beetles.

White Eggplant, from Monticello (the prettiest)
Rosa Bianca (was a dud before, but what the heck)
Early Black Egg (this is the one that produced an eggplant during the month of November, 2006, after a frost!)
Black Beauty (the traditional)
Ping Tung Long (my favorite)

The last four varieties came from Southern Exposure Seed Exchange.

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