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Mar 6, 2012

2012 Seed Flats

The early seeds were started in flats on 2-23-12 this year, which is the same time I start things every year here.  I used to do some at the end of January also but found that the later February starts actually were much healthier and caught up and surpassed the early plants' growth in a matter of days, so I no longer get crazy in January!

My favorite stage below- having personal experience with infertility and the numerous tests we always anxiously awaited results on - this point where the little cotyledon pops up is so exciting!

It has taken me many years to overcome the pangs of guilt as I "cull" the extras...

I can deal with it now, but I still can't bear to plant fewer seeds - maybe it's that infertility thing again that makes me hedge my bets and plant several in each cell!  Do you still have those feelings of guilt pulling out seedlings so that others have room to grow?

I have added several new varieties of tomatoes and peppers this year, and so far everything is going well.  The 2nd set of leaves is now appearing on many of them.  This was taken this morning - 

Egads... I'm terrible with those tiny herb seeds.  I never use tweezers or anything, just sprinkle liberally LOL!  It shows :)

I mentioned this year that most all my new seeds came from Southern Exposure, I'm very excited to try some of these varieties that are historic varieties for our area & climate.  I am really hoping blight will leave us alone this year so I can accurately judge if the new tomato varieties really perform better in our Virginia climate.  With the exception of the 4th of July Hybrid tomato (I still have leftover seed), all of these peppers and tomatoes and most all herbs are non-GMO, organic, heirloom seed.

  • 3 - Red Currant (tiny, berry like)
  • 6 - Pink Brimmer (large)
  • 9 - Old Virginia (large)
  • 9 - Virginia Select Roma (Roma/paste)
  • 9 - Brandywine  (large - massive!)
  • 3 - Hillbilly (large)
  • 4 - Orange Wellington (medium-large)
  • 2 - Fourth of July (small-med salad type)

*notes from last year: Brandywine was still the #1 performer here in taste, quantity, and size, remains the bulk of my canning, apparently really likes humid coastal VA.  Amish Paste and Yellow Pear were disappointing in 2011.  Amish Paste were extremely susceptible to late blight but Pink Brandywine took all the blight in stride and kept producing 1.5 lb fruit in spite of it.  *Seed of Brandywine are also going on their 5th year in the "seed binder" with 100% germination - they were purchased from Baker Creek!


  • 2 - Trinidad Spice (hot)
  • 1 - Padron Tanas  (hot)
  • 3 - Pepperoncini   (hot/sweet)
  • 1 - Sigaretta diBergamo  (mild)
  • 9 - JalapeƱo Craig's Grande  (hot)
  • 3 - Quadrato d'Asti Rosso  (sweet)
  • 6 - Jimmy Nardello Frying Pepper  (sweet)
  • 2 - Sweet Yellow Stuffing  (sweet)
  • 6 - Charleston Belle  (sweet)

no special notes here, peppers do well in our hot, humid summers with no diseases or insect issues

  • 2 - Purple Rain

Note: blech, why do I still grow this?  Oh yeah, they are pretty!  They also lure all the bad bugs away from the potatoes.

  • Oregano
  • Marjoram
  • Summer Savory
  • Lettuce Basil
  • Summerlong Basil
  • Purple Ruffles Basil
  • Thyme
Notes: No parsley seeds needed this year, it has self seeded over 100 plants in the garden and gravel perennial beds so far this spring.  Basil continues to be a problem here, it bolts very early so I am going to go ahead and add a hybrid this year called "Summerlong" that is supposed to keep going in the extreme heat.  I'll let you know...

  • Pumpkin on a Stick Ornamental Eggplant
  • Cotton
  • Zinnia
  • Marigold
Note:  If you are looking for a fantastic fall combo, cotton and the pumpkin on a stick look great together in a vase!  They are dried also so they last!

**Also started many varieties of lettuces and scallions just for a few jump start plants - these are the same varieties as I listed last week that I also direct seeded outdoors.

I know you were rolling your eyes when you saw all those JalapeƱos again... before you say it I'll tell you we have already used ALL the canned/pickled ones!  So although 50+ lbs looks and seems pretty ridiculous every summer, we need them all!  Remind me of that when I start complaining the end of July...

gotta run... it's Super Tuesday and time for me to vote!


  1. Well, talk about getting me all hepped up and antsy for the gardening season . . . I have to keep reminding myself that your season is soooo far ahead of us and I must contain myself for another month at least before I can start anything.

    Yepper, I have the same problem with planting too many seeds in each little pod and then apologizing to each and every one I "kill" by thinning. I never get over the feeling that NOTHING I plant is going to germinate (inside or out) so I always overdue the seeding thing.

    Ooops, you must have seen me rolling my eyes as I scrolled down all the peppers you've got started this year, huh?

    1. Mama Pea, LOL and see? I'm jealous that you still have some winter left, I haven't even read a complete book this year yet!

  2. Oh my, seeing your list makes me wish for a larger garden...

    1. Anke, LOL I won't have room for all those tomatoes myself even, I'll probably have to rehome some :)

  3. Oh, those little seedlings look lovely! I can't wait to give it another go this spring. I hope I can somehow keep the cat out of the seedlings. :)

    1. Patty, I know you will have a great garden this year!

  4. I grew basil last year, does it change the flavor if it bolts? Ours grew all summer in 115 degree heat(Las Vegas). It did bloom but we continued to eat the leaves. I am growing it again for the blooms because the bees love it and we need all the bees we can get, the blooms are also very pretty. I also love to eat pasta with cherry tomatoes, basil and parmesan, yumm I can hardly wait. (The trick around here is getting the tomatoes to put on fruit before the temps get too hot)

  5. Hi Peggi! No, don't worry it doesn't change the flavor just puts more energy into blooming than making new leaves and makes for some woody stems to sort through when picking. Mine shoots up to about 4 feet tall and has about 50 bees per plant when it's blooming so it makes picking easier if there's no bolting :)

  6. I'm inching closer to planting tomatoes. I think next weekend it will be time for broccoli planting. Of course, it was 70 here today after the 3 inches of snow we got on Sunday. Go figure.

    1. Judy, 70?! Wow that IS quite a spread in temps! I'm sure it was welcome but then again so was the snowfall, right? I sure hope you get enough rain (gentle rain that is) this spring to make up for the lack of snowmelt, the farmers have got to be nervous this year.

  7. Everything looks wonderful here, so fresh! Ever thought about teaching what you know to other women? Bet there is a big demand for it, you are the only "real expert" I know. Peace

  8. Ruth, I'm no expert that's for sure but I sure do learn well from experience and past mistakes! And of course I can't even put a price on all the tips and ideas I've gotten from other bloggers. Funny you mention that though, I was asked to do a spring gardening activity/education type thing for the women's group at church, it's like you were a fly on my wall LOL!!! We sure don't need to be experts to be passionate about things though, the learning is what keeps it from being boring!

  9. I really enjoyed this post. Thanks for sharing. We've not tried Brandywine toms here in PA, maybe they would do well here too.

  10. I like the fact that you are growing varieties historic to your area. I need to look up what grows well here in Vermont besides maple syrup.

    "Culling" is a difficult task for me as well. I have a system - you can't be too leggy or two short and have to have a good set of true fat leaves growing. It's like a beauty contest in many ways.

  11. I love both Baker Creek and Southern Exposure seeds. And I too still feel very guilty when I have to cull my extra 'babies.' But I know it is for the best. I just put my brassicas out to harden off in the cold frame for planting this weekend, and I'll be starting my tomatoes and peppers soon. I know exactly what you mean about starting those seeds too early. Last year, I did two separate seed-startings of tomatoes - one at the end of Feb., and one at the end of March, and the March ones did so much better, so I just decided to wait this year, since they can't really go into the ground until late April here in Northern Va anyway.

  12. You have a good head start,can't wait till your garden is up and harvesting? well,I don't want time to go by that fast,I'll be a year older but you will be harvesting some things before our growing season begins.

  13. Looking good! I feel the same way about seedlings...just like I do about trimming trees, and taking out buds on flower bushes to produce fewer, "better" flowers. urgh!