From seed to plant
There are several steps in the process from seed to finished fruit-bearing plant. Here is a small guide.
Let's start with the first part, namely the choice of seeds. When you start exploring the seed world, you can easily become overwhelmed by the many options, and this sometimes leads you to choose the more common sorts.
A good tool is to find some great profiles on Instagram that grow more special varieties. It can be as profiles such as @Shegrowsveg. Otherwise, there are also seed websites that specialize in more hereditary sorts and special seeds.
Sowing and germination
When you get your new delicious seeds (remember to get them home in time), you need to start germinating. A good idea is to divide your seeds in which month they should be germinated. Chillies and peppers are germinated in January. In February, we germinate our aubergines, but if germinated that early, it requires growth light, otherwise you germinate aubergines in late March. Tomatoes are germinated in early March indoors. When getting started, use sowing soil and seed trays. There are many different soil types and seed trays, we use organic sowing soil. It is important that you use sowing soil as it has a low content of nutrients because seeds cannot tolerate too much nutrition.
Once you have put your seeds in the ground and they are starting to sprout, they need light. At first, we used our window ledge and it worked. Last year we chose to try growth light and what a difference. The problem with the light in the window ledge is that the small sprouts do not get an even light from above and they then grow towards the light, which means that they can get a little tall and thin, and that will not be a strong plant. But when you use growth light, you will get even light which means that the sprouts will grow a little slower, as they do not have to reach for the light. In that way, you get both a healthier and stronger plant. We have chosen white growth light, as research shows that you get stronger plants with stronger roots by having all the light colours available. Many people use either red or blue light, which helps the plants’ photosynthesis. The problem with the red and blue growth lights is that they can burn the plants and they are almost impossible to be around, as they are quite unpleasant for the eyes. The white light contains all the colours and is the closest you can get to the sun's rays.
An outline of germination in the greenhouse and what we grow
January: Chillies and peppers
February: Aubergines (with growth light)
March: Tomatoes, cape gooseberries and aubergines (without growth light)
April: Cucumbers and melon
Transplanting in pots
When your chillies, peppers and tomatoes are about 8-10 cm, you should transplant them in a slightly larger pot. There you will need sowing soil or the same one that you sowed in before. You can transplant tomatoes in different ways. You can take the plant out of your seed tray and transplant it in a larger pot. The method we use is that we carefully remove the soil from the roots of the plant. Then we bend the stem in a U shape and gently press the stem into the soil in the new pot, so that top and roots are sticking out of the soil. In this way, you get a small plant again, however, it is important that the roots are covered with soil. The stem of the plant will start to form more roots along the soil-covered stem, which will give you a stronger plant with more roots and later a larger harvest.
When the tomato plant has grown large in the pot you transplanted it in, you must transplant it again. This time you need soil with more nutrients. You can then move the plants into a conservatory or into another slightly cooler room so that the plant can adapt before being put in the greenhouse. That is called hardening out your plants. In fact, tomatoes benefit from getting a little cold, just not too cold. But down to 10 degrees at night is fine and it hardens the plants so that they become stronger.
Transplanting in the greenhouse
When you reach mid-May and there is no forecast of frost, you now transplant your tomatoes in the greenhouse. It is important that you have hardened the tomatoes before transplanting them. This can be done by putting them in your greenhouse during the day for a week before transplanting. When transplanting in the greenhouse, there are different options. The first is capillary boxes. The smart thing about capillary boxes is that they are self-irrigating, and therefore do not require your attention as much, and you can go on vacation. The problem with capillary boxes is that tomatoes want to grow deep roots and use a lot of nutrients, which they won’t get the opportunity to, compared to a growbag, but it works quite well, and you will probably get success with your tomatoes. We used this method the first year.
The second option is to transplant directly in the ground, whether it is in a raised bed as the one we have made or directly at ground level, there is not much difference. But the advantage of this method is that your tomatoes can get the deep roots that they want, and you can better control the nutrition in the soil so that the plants get the optimal conditions to develop and give lots of fruit. We ourselves experience a big difference from the first year with the capillary boxes and the second year of transplanting directly in the ground and think it is worth irrigating. So now just enjoy watching your tomatoes, chillies, peppers and cucumbers grow and enjoy them all summer long.
Follow our greenhouse universe on @bergsfairytalegarden on Instagram. It is a Danish profile with an English touch.
Om Bergs Fairytale Garden
Berg’s Fairytale Garden
Janus Berg and Kåre Stigel – kitchen garden and cultivation enthusiasts from Denmark.
Janus and Kåre have a Danish Facebook and Instagram profile “Berg’s Fairytale Garden”. They try to be as self-sufficient as possible, and they will take you around their kitchen garden and greenhouse.
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