Good gardening results begin with good seed starting
By Farmer Bubba
I love that entrance. Aloha means welcome and ya'll means, well, all ya'll. All those who read this column, have a garden or want to start one. Either way, thank ya'll for coming to the GLOB each Wednesday and finding your way to my virtual farm.
Coolness is on it's way and that's called positive thinkin', or as I like to call it, Bubbalosophy. Bubbalosophy is lookin' for the good in any situation, livin' in the present, and knowin' everything will change for the best.
Bad think'n people always stay in the bad day, which only produces another bad day. With this in my head, I thought this week would be about seeds. I've written about seed savin' and seed startin'. But now I'm gonna dig deep and I hope to uncover some information to you about seeds.
In the beginning, a seed is nothing but a speck in a package, a jar, or a cold napkin in a plastic baggy in the freezer. It's just waitin' to get planted. I like to think of it as stuck in the waiting room lookin' for someone to hold it in the palm of a hand. When that happens, their life begins.
Just think--all the produce you find in the grocery store is full of seeds, but it started from just one seed.
My favorite vegetable plant to grow from seeds I save every year is the great, and mighty pepper plant. I love to grow peppers.
Pepper seeds are the hardiest of all the seeds in the garden, so that gives them a longer shelf life than other seeds. Some pepper seeds I've saved have been in jars for years. The oldest is the jalapeno seed. I have some that are now over 30 years old. And each year, I take'm some out, put 'em in my hand, and get them ready to turn into a pepper plant. Your first thought is probably HUH? I pick out particular seeds at just the right time that I think they are ready to grow. It's my farmer's intuition.
I like to believe before I plant a seed that it will grow into the biggest pepper plant I've ever grown. And you know what, most all the time, they are. That's positive thinking at work, but it's based on experienced combined with that farmer's intuition.
When I hold the seed, it is lighter than air, but I see a hand full of peppers weighing more than five pounds. A seed can give me six months of produce and years of eatin. There's nothin' like opening a jar of three-year-old peppers.
BUBBA NOTE: Two of my favorite seeds companies are tomatogrowers.com and Johnnyseeds.com. When I order seeds I can speak to a real voice with real answers and they do everything they can to make me a happy grower.
Here's a believe it or not. I still have a tomato seed that my Uncle Elbert grew in Cedar Springs, Texas. The seed is from a California Rutger grown in the 1940s. Each year I grow a few and save the seeds from that plant. It's not just seed saving -- I'm keepin' the California Rutger and my uncle Elbert alive and well on my farm.
Germination is when a seed becomes plant. If you start 10 seeds and one tiny plant pokes through the dirt, you have a 1% germination rate. You should have at least a 50% germination rate on any seeds you start.
BUBBA NOTE: I always wondered why my germination rate was low in the summer than other times of the year. Well, a couple of years ago, my friend Lynn Dirk, the GLOB Content Editor, was at the farm to help start seeds for the coming planting. It was a very hot summer day and I let Lynn plant all the seeds that afternoon while I prepared the pots. To my surprise, the germination rate of Lynn's seeds was higher than my usual summer rate. That's when I realized the sweat on my hands was keeping seeds from germinating. Thanks Lynn for making this good tip obvious to farmer Bubba and for writing another chapter in Farmer Bubba's gardening book of 'I didn't know that.'
The next time you walk by a store's seed display, stop and take a good look. Everything, and I mean everything you eat, started with a seed. Farmer Bubba is always thinking about how to coax that seed into a plant to produce food for an empty stomach.
Aloha from the desk, on Farmer Bubba's Farm.
Do you have a gardening question for Farmer Bubba or a photo of your garden you would like to share? Email Bubba or add your question in the comment window below, and Bubba will try to reply as quickly as possible. Farmer Bubba is an all natural grower who sells seeds, plants, and produce in various N. Florida locations. Email Farmer Bubba for a location near you and to do whatever it takes to get you get your garden growing.