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Having some trouble starting seeds...

Posted: Wed May 23, 2012 3:42 pm
by HarvestMoon87
Hey. So I am renting a house with a greenshouse and have created a garden, but am having some trouble with the seeds i started. They never really took off, especially the peppers. I started everything in peat pots, which after doing more research was a bad idea. I started them in a organic potting mix I bought at the hardware store. The greenhouse is not really clear but more of an opaic. It gets really hot in there though. So I started the hot weather stuff in late feb or early march and it has been out in the garden for some time now, frost free date in my part of North Carolina is march 10. The peppers are still only about 1 inch tall and look like crap. Obviously I did something realy wrong. I know I did several things wrong to begin with-- the vegetable garden I started was new ground, a field that I broke. I went out and got a bunch of wood chips and worked them into the beds thinking that it would help add organic matter, after some more reading learned that wood actually sucks nitrogen out of the soil will it's breaking down. I did however add some nitrogen in th from off cotten seed or something.. i forget what, and I also added some organic plant food. Is it possible i "burned" the plants? MY cool weather plants did nothing either. The brocoli and spinach just sat there and never grew more than 2 or 3 inches tall. The lettuce starts didnt too much either, I went out and bought starts and they seemed to do fine. I know this is a long message, and any help would be greatly appreciated. Here is a link to my Youtube account where I have taken several videos -- note they were never intended to be informative just videos taken for our family and friends that live so far away from us. Thanks for your time and your help.


Posted: Wed May 23, 2012 4:18 pm
by rainbowgardener
No, I doubt they are burned.

You are right, sounds like a bunch of things wrong, the peat pots, the wood chips, probably some over watering and under nutrients...

But we all start somewhere and make mistakes. In one of my earliest years as a gardener, I planted a rose bush right against a tall grey stone wall, because I thought the rose color would look so pretty against the stone. I was right, it would have, IF the rose bush could have tolerated being in such a shady spot. You would think anyone would know roses need sunshine...

I would suggest for now, this late in the season with lots of hot weather coming, you forget about seeds and the greenhouse, and just go to a good nursery (NOT a big box) and get some well started plants for transplanting. You will not get much joy from trying to limp along your one inch high pepper plant. Having been that stunted for this long, it's never likely to do much. Pull all the stuff that isn't doing well and start fresh.

Then go back to the basics. Most veggies need full sun, an inch or so of water a week, and good loose rich organic soil. If you can provide all that, your garden will do well. For the rich organic soil, try adding compost. You can start a compost pile now, to have your own compost by fall, but in the meantime you can buy compost bagged and/or well aged composted manure.

Get the soil right BEFORE you buy the transplants... And don't bother now with the cool weather stuff, just things that like heat, tomatoes, peppers, squash, melons, okra (if you happen to like the stuff :) )

Late in the season you can try again with the greenhouse and seeds for a fall crop and extending your season into winter.

Posted: Wed May 23, 2012 4:56 pm
by HarvestMoon87
Thanks. I pulled out the cool weather stuff a while ago and added th warm weather. I still have kale out there doing good, and planted a lot of okra from seed that is doing well. My tomatoes i started seem to be doing good, they are about 1 foot tall and growing fast. They didnt do much for a few weeks after i transplanted them, but now are growing. They have nice thick stems and I hope will do fine. Do you have any suggestions on what kind of fertilizer I should use? So far everything I have done has been organic non. Ill probably have to buy GMO starts :( Thanks for your help!