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Starting Transplants

John Dysinger

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John Dysinger

Bountiful Blessings Farm

Conference

Recorded

  • January 17, 2019
    9:30 AM

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Dear Heavenly Father we thank you so much for the things that we're learning the things that you're teaching us the thing the fellowship that we're having together and Lord in this class we just ask that you will guide and direct my thoughts and words and those of those who are here Lord if if I'm going to say anything I shouldn't guard my lips and I just pray that this time together will be profitable in Jesus' name we pray Amen. So how many of you grow your own transplant. Quite a few How many of you are satisfied with the transplant you're producing. OK a few That's good. I hope I'm going to try to keep this simple but this is supposed to be a beginner class but I hope that there's just a few simple things that I'm going to share this morning that I think will improve the quality of your transplants tremendously and let's just start with a quote to go to ground is here the cultivation of the soil the sowing of the seed the care bestowed on the seed by the soul or represent different stages of Christ's work for the soul 1st appears the blade then the ear then the full corn in the ear so as we talked this morning I want you to be taking the things I'm saying in applying them in the spiritual realm and I think specifically starting transplants is a lot like parenting. And working with young children what kind of environment do you want for your children so the beauty of the natural world is God has all his spiritual lessons there if you're trying to understand something in the natural world look to the spiritual and apply it in the natural and vice a versa if you're China figure out something in the spiritual world the natural world has the answers for you OK So let's get into it why use transplants just quickly. Number one it lengthens your growing season I think that's clear you know especially things like tomatoes if you plant a tomato seed outside when it's warm enough you know some places you're you're lucky to get mature fruit before the 1st frost so it just lengthens your growing season this is a picture of our starter house in mid March those are all tomato and pepper plants ready to go out we've just added 8 weeks 8 to 10 weeks to our growing season. It ensures a full bed no skips you know if you direct seeds you know how it is you often have spotty germination and if you're like me you know a little bit on the O.C.D. side it's like I just hate that you know there's all these all these empty spots and it's wasted space especially if you have a small garden you can afford to have a bunch of bare ground. Helps you use your garden space more efficiently. You know. If if you're on top of your game and you pull out you know you harvest your lettuce then you could have transplants ready to go immediately where those that lettuce came out and so it's a much more efficient way to use your garden space also a strong healthy transplant is better able to withstand pests and diseases as compared to direct seeding I don't know if you've had this experience but you know you direct seed I've I've really had this a lot with beets you know you direct see beats and you're waiting OK where are they and then oh there's one there you know I see one or 2 and then the next day it's what where where did they go you know it's like they start disappearing after they've just come up. There's a lot you know it's a it's a big bad world out there a lot of things that are after your little seedlings so and then of course this is a huge one gives you a huge jump on we'd. How many of you has experience you go out and you seed your garden and you come back a week later and it's at Wow it's green. It's really green and I know my plants are in here somewhere and you're trying to figure out OK that's a weed that's a we I think that maybe a plant and you're we'd have already won the battle in less years super super persevered but with with a transplant you can have it cleanly cultivated you put your transplant in you can cultivate the next day if you want you know exactly where your plants are there's just so many good reasons and I'll just tell you market gardeners. Make their living on using transplants we direct seed the absolute minimum we can everything we can transplant we do we transplant beets we transplant corn sweet corn all our sweet corn is transplanted. Now why grow your own transplant well it saves money now I'm going to you know be talking about equipment that really helpful in it can be a fairly hefty initial investment but you know do you buy all your transplants at the store I mean if you do when you're getting quality transplants it can be hundreds of dollars just for one season. So it definitely can save money you get more variety you know you go to the store and you get what they you know broccoli Well what kind of broccoli there's dozens of different kinds of broccoli. Better quality. I can produce better quality trance and I say I the Lord is blessing my efforts I don't want to take credit myself but. You know I've never found transplants as good as what we can grow. And then and this is a big one grow in plant on your schedule not when the box stores have the plants you know I'm from Tennessee and in Tennessee see. I guess it would be the same here but you know we can have spring cool weather crops and then fall but in the fall we have to you know we have to be sowing our bras sick as is our broccoli cabbage by the 1st of July so that means they're ready to transplant by the end of July. We're Where do you find broccoli transplants at the end of July well. You know people ask me I don't know I'm sorry I don't know where you're going to find I'm usually in our area by. You know by the time it starts getting cool August or September you'll find a few transplants but I hate to tell you it's too late by then and so they're just making money off you they're selling you all these plants that are never going to make sure unless maybe you have a greenhouse and they might need to or in a greenhouse at that point so you can set your own schedule and of course it's fun you know especially if you have children or something this is great this is you know every time those seeds pop out of the soil it's like wow this is amazing it's a miracle. OK so I have 3 challenges that I think you are going to identify with I think the 1st 2 I think are the big ones spindly or leggy transplants how many have had this problem many of you OK what about damping off you know about damping off basically the seed comes up and then one day you go out there and it's just fallen over it's gone have you had that problem. Quite a number of you. Lack of balance fertility is the plants don't thrive anybody if you so I think those are the main ones and fortunately they're pretty easy to solve now I apologize you know I got farmers don't take pictures of their sick plant. So I couldn't find I couldn't I don't have pictures of damping for leggy transplant but I just came across this and I thought it was a pretty picture this is my my daughter and my daughter in law with my daughter loves to grow flowers so how do you get leggy starts well almost always it's a lack of light sometimes it could be also a combination of too much heat you know if you've got things in a high heat humidity environment that can kind of force them to get. 2 leggy and this is the key window sills never produce light I don't care if it's of south facing window I've never seen a healthy transplant grown on a Windows. That Claire. You've got to add supplemental light so simple solution now. I'll just say you know Ellie D. is the new thing now and so there's a lot of L E D grow lights and I tried to do some research on that I've not used them myself. You know I couldn't find a lot of concrete information I do know that from what I read L.E.D. lights you don't have to have as close to the plants but I guess I'm just going to tell you if you want to use illy the lights you're going to have to do your own research because I'm not familiar with that but a simple solution is just fluorescent shop light if you know what I mean by that 4 foot long just 2 fluorescent bulbs you really don't even have to get special light bulbs you can buy special grow light bulbs and stuff and it's probably good but it'll work just fine with standard fluorescent bulbs and this is the key this far above your plants. Yeah I mean basically just so they're not touching you don't want them touching the plant but if it's this far this far this far it's too high you're not they're not going to get enough light they literally have to be inch to 2 inches above your plant at the most. So obviously your plants are growing you've got to keep raising the lights OK we've got a question can you save it I'm sorry but I just I want to make sure I get through this stuff and then then we'll try to have time for questions at the end let's see this class in that 1030 right OK so. And I've got a lot more detailed information on the handouts that I hope will be coming before the classes over normally people grow in what's called a 1020 tray. Basically it's proximately 10 feet 10 inches wide by 20 inches long and so if you have to shop lights next to each other it will cover pretty well the the the length of a $1020.00 tray so you can fit for under a 4 foot shop light and then on the handout I also give links to websites which will give you all the materials to build a cart you know you can just buy one of those metal rolling carts from from Lowes or Costco or wherever and those can easily be fitted with the with the light you can grow hundreds I mean in fact for most home gardeners it's way over kill but. You can grow a lot of your own micro Greens in the wintertime and stuff you know Dr test he didn't talk about micro beans but everything I've heard is that they're as nutritious or maybe more nutritious than than full greens so it's an investment but it will pay for itself over time. OK So then one seeds of germinated so. There's just too much to talk about but well we'll talk about temperature a little more in just a minute but. You know you need warm temperatures for germination and you can look online and find charts for different crops or if you get the Johnnies catalog for every crop in there it has a little graph showing the ideal temperature for germination but basically you know it's 70 degrees for most I mean that's kind of a minimum for most plants. Tomatoes and peppers and eggplant the heat loving ones it's going to be more like 80 or a little higher so if you're trying to stardom in your basement chances are you really don't have your temperatures high enough you don't want to too high. Seventy's kind of a minimum in there are a few things like spinach and lettuce which will do OK with less but yeah it just shoots for 70 degrees. Petting the plants can also help to stiffen their stands you know it's not going to counterbalance a leg transplant if you don't have enough light you can pet it all you want and it's still going to. Be leggy but you know plants were were meant to have some movement from wind and whatever and we're going to talk about fans in just a minute but just just slightly petting with tomatoes you know good morning how are you you just had on them and and. So let me again I think this is on the handout I put a lot on the hand that I don't have time to go through here but as far as the amount the hours of light different people tell you different things but basically I would say just do what's good for humans you need about 8 hours of sleep give your plants 8 hours of darkness you know the simple thing there is just get a simple timer so because you're always going to forget you know I forgot to turn the lights on just have a timer to turn your lights on and off give them 8 hours of sleep at night and then they'll be ready to grow the next day OK so that's leggy stars is that simple just give them more light you're not giving them a lot of anough light. And Padam Yeah now you know that petting I think is specifically good Ford tomatoes which of course is going to be one of your main transplants but now you're wanting to grow greens I've never patted my greens but they probably like it I don't know. Damping off OK this one's a little bit more complicated but I don't know if you can see the picture but this is just one example of it damping off is actually caused by a number of soil borne fungal species. And you don't really have to worry what kind it is you just need to worry if you have it and it's almost always from my experience cause from overwatering too much water but it can also be lack of proper air circulation and it's not just too much water it's specifically well we're going to come to the. Poor soil drainage is kind of related to that but that's a good reason why you need to have a good mix you don't just go out and get soil from your garden to use as your potting mix because that soil could well have the fungus in it. Cool soil temperatures this is a big one. These. I thought I had something else on that but these fungal species thrive at temperatures under 50 degrees so if you have your transplants in too cool a place or if you're watering them with really cold water you're just encouraging the. Fungal pathogens. That makes sense so let's talk about solutions Here's another picture I don't know if any of you seen anything like that you may not be able to see it but the stem just kind of shriveled up now it may not actually even kill the plant but the plant is never going to be healthy its will always be compromised you're better off composting it so here are some simple solutions use a soil less peat or core based potting mix so again as I said a lot of people try to cut corners and just go out to the garden and dig up some soil in start their things in there but if you want to be safe start with the soil list mix it's not going to have those fungal pathogens in it now that doesn't mean they're not going to show up because as we learned those who were in the Tuesday seminar they're everywhere you're not going to you're not going to isolate your plants from them so. Start with a good potting mix let the soil dry out some between watering and when I talk about dry out I'm not talking about bone bone dry but I'm talking about I don't know how to describe it but just barely moist. You know don't think that they have to be sopping wet because chances are you're going to get damping off if they stay too wet I'd tell people more plants are killed more transplants starting plants are killed by overwatering than under watering. So really really be careful about the watering. Keep plants and water warm So here's where I had that. You know again. Plants don't like cold water use a small fan for air circulation now I'll tell you I've never done this I've never really felt the need if you do everything else you may not but if you have continuing problem with damping off you can buy you know a little clip on fan you don't want you know a big box fan blowing a hurricane on the thing you're just wanting to take give anough circulation that you're drying the plants out there not staying moist course that also is moving them so you don't have to pet him that way but you can still if you want. So that may be something you need to go to like I say I've never had to go to that from my experience it's the temperature the cold temperature and too much water if you monitor those 2 things I can almost guarantee you will not have issues now I mention one thing here act innovate if any of you heard of actin of a. There may be other things that work I know the other day we're talking about roof shields somebody was talking about roof shelves these are beneficial. I don't know what they are some kind of beneficial microorganisms that I have use activity and I know it works I've seen it work but again as as we learned the other day. They work better as a preventative if you have a full blown damping off problem it's too late to be putting on activity I have found we were having issues with. Square Tenia in our baby lettuce and. When we when we drenched it with activated after the square tinea had already started it it didn't solve the problem but when we drenched the beds at seating and did it I think we did it twice then and then like a week later we didn't have any problems so it does work but I would say only use something like that and again I'm not saying this is the only only solution but only use that if you've done these other things and it's still not working for you but I can almost guarantee that those other things will solve your problems OK So just a little bit of a lack of balance fertility This is a tomato plant with Does anybody know what kind of deficiency that is. Of phosphorous deficiency. You know if you're a whole gardener you're probably not going to want to be fiddling with you know. Trying to add different nutrients to your plants I don't even want to be fiddling with that so we use a professional potting mix and I just put up here what we use burrs a 0 M. one. It's an organic mix and we get great transplants with it I don't know how readily available you know it's a free French Canadian brand I tried to do a little research on what's available in this part of the country and I I didn't really I didn't know exactly where to look and so you know you may not have access to Bruges say so what I would say find the organic potting mixes that are available here and do a little experiment you know plant the same kinds of seeds in 2 or 3 different kinds of potting mix and see which works best for you you know different mixes will have different fertility charges in them you know and a lot of professional growers I've talked to the companies that make this potting mix and they say you know what we some of them say we don't put much fertility in it because we want the growers to be able to do their own based on what they're growing and stuff and that's great for the big guys you know who are growing acres of point set as or something but you know for us I just want something that's going to take my plants through to transplanting without having to be adding more fertility and this mix has done that for us. Also on the handout that by face you will be receiving. I give a recipe for a homemade potting mix that we for years and years we made our own potting mix and it worked great I mean just as well as this but it's a lot of work especially when you're doing thousands of transplants and. It was based on the nitrogen fertility was blood meal I haven't had time to do my own research but people I respect are kind of encouraging you to stay away from blood meal. So you know I don't know that I could I could justify it from a Biblical point of view because there's life in the blood but I think from a health point of view maybe I know some of the mad cow and some of that. You can do your own research so anyway we we got away from that. Never skimp on container size so it may not be a lack of fertility in your soil it may just be a lack of soil you know you can't grow a big transplant with a little container size there's just not enough fertility in there so make sure your containers size balances the kind of plant you're trying to grow that makes sense don't overwater you know some of these nutrients are water soluble and they're just going to if you overwater it you're just going to leach it right out of your mix and then this is a big one pot on or transplant at the ideal size or time you know if. I mean we grow bras we could transplant usually 3 weeks I mean it varies a little bit on the time of the year but in there will be OK for 4 weeks but if we wait 5 or 6 weeks to to transplant them they're not going to be looking very good anymore they've run out of nitrogen they they're just not healthy looking so you ideally want to either pot them on or transplant them at the ideal size and time that's kind of the end of my problem solving and then I'm going to go into the system we use Ok so let's go on to what's worked best for us and. I share this with you because I think that on a home scale this is a great solution on a commercial scale there's a lot of. Naysayers against using soil blocks let me just mention this book Eliot Coleman the new organic grower it's subtitle A master's manual of tools and techniques for the home and market gardener so it's kind of geared more for market gardening but there's a lot of good information in here for a serious home gardener. This is the book that I had when I started out this is the only book I had you know 25 years ago when I was starting a garden and he's got a whole chapter on soil blocks and the benefits of them so he could convince you a lot better than I can so the only thing I'm going to say. To convince you is that my boys and I did a tour. Of some of the top market gardens of the country a couple of years ago we went up the East Coast and visited. A lot of the big market gardens most successful. And Elliot Coleman's transplant said his farm were hands down superior to any other transplants I saw and he's the only one using soil blocks so the argument on a market garden scale is there too. It takes too much time to make them they're not efficient enough you can't mechanize the system enough but for a home gardener that's not probably not a concern of yours you're wanting to have fun doing it and so I would highly recommend using soil blocks again I'm not trying to say this is the only way or that sure you're going against. Yeah I mean I don't want to be dogmatic about it but it works well for me. Soil blocks well I'm going to explain it here and just. These are some of the benefits highest quality transplants they have more soil volume. Years they 2 to 3 times the soil volume of a standard plug tray of the similar size and when I say a similar size I mean like. 72 count tray or whatever you know if you do a similar amount of soil blocks it's much more soil so you know on a commercial scale people are thinking well yeah that's a lot more money I'm spending on soil mix potting mix but as Elliot Coleman says you know to scrimp on this is is not a real savings and I had a quote here I think this is a big one but there's there's something in here that to me is an argument for 1st soil blocking and I'll just read it and let's see how IS ARE time coming I think we're good in the cultivation of the soil the thoughtful worker will find that tracers little dreamed of our opening up before him no one can succeed in agriculture or gardening without attention to the laws involved the special needs of every variety of plant must be studied different varieties require different soil and cultivation and compliance with the laws governing each is the condition of success now I notice this sentence in particular the attention required in transplanting that not even a root fiber shall be crowded or misplaced the care of the young plants the pruning and watering the shielding from frost at night and sun by day keeping out weeds disease and insect pests the training and arranging not only teach important lessons concerning. Important lessons concerning the development of character but the work itself is a means of development in cultivating carefulness patience attention to detail obedience to law it imparts a most essential training like that word essential What does that mean the constant contact with the mystery of life in the loveliness of nature as well as the tenderness called forth in ministering to these beautiful objects of God's creation tends to quicken the mind and refine and elevate the character thank you and the lessons taught prepare the worker to deal more successfully with other minds isn't that beautiful Education Page 111 but back to that one sentence the attention required in transplanting that not even a root fiber shall be crowded or misplaced So that's the closest thing I can come to. You know divine inspiration for soil blocks but. One of the disadvantages of a standard plug tray is what's called Roots circling you know the roots go to the ads and they have no place to go so they just start circling and the plant can easily get root back down and. That doesn't happen in soil blocks because what happens is the roots go to the edge and they're like wait there's nothing out there and so they just stop and they they contain themselves is called Air pruning it's you know it's a common. Term but. The soil blocks because they have more soil and because they have nothing to to cause the roots to circle they tend to have a much healthier root ball this is my experience and I could tell you stories I've done side by side comparisons. Planning the same things in soil blocks as compared to plug trace but I don't have time to tell you all that I just can tell you that I've never seen healthier transplants and again you know if we're comparing this to raising our children you know are you wanting this can't be scrimp on. The best environment for them well I don't think you know television watching is going to be a problem. I don't think they have to live in the country you know if I take in the park once a week that ought to be enough right. We want the best environment for starting out so as as I said in this previous slide it's a modular system. And so when it comes to putting on it's really fun this is a 3 quarter inch block or makes 20 cute little blocks. This is great for starting all your heat loving crops your tomatoes and peppers and eggplants and then the other thing I use in 3 quarter inch blocks is things that take a long time to germinate like parsley and. Celery and then Basler is another heat loving one I use on this. And then what you do when when the seeds have germinated and they've just barely got their caudal Eden's you put them on because you have one of these and notice you've got. A block that's just the size of cheese so you just take take the block and plop it in the next size and it keeps growing and then they actually have a 4 inch block or it's called a 4 inch but it's huge I mean it's really more more soil than a 6 inch pot. And it's got to hold this size and so you can pot your 2 inch block onto a 4 inch block and you'll end up with a tomato plant this big that is so stocky and healthy people will want to be buying it from you. So this is actually picture it Eliot Coleman's farm and here's all his little tomatoes starts and he's got bezel down here in the front on a heat mat so so think about this. You know how many plants can you start on a mat because you really want to heat Matt Forte starting your loving crops with with the many soil blocker I can start I have trays and everything and it's all detailed in this handout if you want to get them I can start 600 tomatoes. On one Mat tomatoes or peppers whatever so that's probably all you you would want right. You know in a little space now if you get all that Coleman's book Ill tell you you don't need to cover the seeds on the soil black he just put them on the surface and the grow my experience with that is that they they grew kind of funky. And so I for a while was like use a pan like a ballpoint pen or something and push them down into the block but that was kind of labor intensive so now I just sprinkle some Finally sifted potting mix on top and it does better for meaning. And then you know the key again is you don't want him to get root bound and I will say you know it's a different kind of root bound but they will still get root bound in a soil block if you leave them too long you know like I say if you're supposed to be potting transplanting them after 3 weeks and you wait for 6 weeks they'll do fine but well I say they'll do fine they never really do as well I don't think but when you put them in the ground it will take like a week before they really start growing whereas if you put them in the ground at the exact right time man they just keep going they never they never knew what happened OK So then there's the inch and a half block or so these are home scale you know these these will cost you about $30.00 bucks I give you the places you can get them on Amazon the beauty is. The last I have I have my original blocker I do the stand up once so rather than 5 blocks at a time I'm doing 20 blocks at a time but you know those are $200.00 so it's kind of overkill for home gardeners but I still have my original one that I've had for over 20 years and I figure I've I Well this was years ago X.C. i figured i'd done in the millions of transplants with so I you know it's it's simple it's sustainable you're not having these piles of broken trays that you're throwing out all the time so the inch and a half blocks in this is actually not a picture of inch and a half of books this is a Coleman's place but these are the things we do with the inch and a half block or our lettuce and chicory you know chicory Zahar all year reduce those in Esker olds and dandelions and all those kind of things scallions we plant 12 seeds to a block so you have your bunch of scallions in one block ready to go kale collards beets we plant 2 seeds to a block or so and you know beat seeds actually can often have more than one plant proceed you know about that right so we're aiming for no more than 4 beats per block when they germinate Cole Robbie spinach spinach will do 3 or 4 seeds per block and here's the 2 inch block with with this insert. So this insert you know you just buy these 4 things separately so you can switch him out they normally come with just the little button insert but these just pop out. And then you can screw these things on but you know if you're doing a lot you don't want to have to be. Going back and forth. And so you know if you're serious about gardening I would recommend you getting 2 of these wines that you can just keep in and then one that has the normal thing so again I don't want anybody going away feeling like I'm I'm not getting commission from last are selling the these are actually made in England Ladbroke is the company. But it's just a simple system that has worked well for us so in the 2 inch blocks we do our bras it because cabbage broccoli. The kale and collars we usually do in the inch and a half block or but then we also pot on all our tomatoes peppers eggplant celery parsley. With the insert like is shown here you can start your cue cumbers and squash there's actually another blocker but unfortunately it's not available in a home scale it's a 3 inch block or it will do 6 at a time blocks about this big and that is actually what we normally start all our squash to Cumbers in. But on a home scale you can start him in here but the key is you're going to want to pot him on really quick because they won't their roots go grow very fast and you don't want they don't like their roots disturbed very well another beauty of soil blocks is there are a number of plants that I can't think of right off the top of my head that normally they don't encourage you to transplant because they don't do well with transplanting but they do fine with soil blocks and transplanting Fennel is another one we do in the 2 inch blocks and then now here is another place well actually Elliott no longer uses the 4 inch block or you know we made hundreds and hundreds probably thousands and thousands of foreign soil blocks but it's pretty labor intensive because it's one at a time and 8 to a tray and when you're doing hundreds we realized at some point that it was just too much so we now use. 5 and a half inch pot they work perfectly these are acts the not very good examples of our transplants these were some that were a little young and spindly but normally they're even much nicer than that. And you know again if you if you plant them out before they get to root bound we found it works fine. We in the spring we put all of these onto the big pots tomatoes peppers IG plant cucumber squash you know it's a lot of potting mix but another thing to think about is that potting mix is just going into your garden it's not I mean you're enriching your garden soil. I think Elliott says for planting less this standard spacing on an 8 per year by using So a blocks you're adding about 5 tons of organic matter to your soil OK don't forget to harden off your transplants. Introducing your babies to the harsh cold world you want to do it slowly and deliberately they can't handle the shock of going straight from a sheltered environment to the real world lot of spiritual lessons there so a lot of farmers fudge on this a fair bit but depending on the weather and a lot of things you know you want to start putting him out for just an hour or so the 1st day not in the direct Not if it's real windy and you just slowly harden the MAF take take a few days to get them a climatized don't just put them out there and expect them to thrive. OK I'm sorry I thought we're doing good on time and then we. We ran out he gave the parable of the tiny mustard seed he who gave the parable of a tiny mustard seed is the sovereign of heaven and the same laws that govern earthly seed sowing and reaping govern the sowing of the seeds of truth in the Gospel seed sowing the Word of God is to be communicated as truth it is to be interwoven with the whole practical life so just something for you to chew on as you think about the things we've talked about here and as you work in your garden this media was brought to you by audio 1st a website dedicated to spreading God's word through free sermon audio and much more if you would like to know more about audio for us or if you would like to listen to more sermons leave a Visit W W W audio verse or.

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