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You Can Grow Healthy Transplants!

John Dysinger

Presenter

John Dysinger

Bountiful Blessings Farm

Conference

Recorded

  • January 14, 2021
    10:45 AM
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Dear Heavenly Father we thank you for the privilege of life for the sunshine for the breeze for the fellowship for so many things and now as we talk about starting transplants we we just ask for your wisdom and guidance ask if you would help us to get through the material and just ask for your spirit to guide and direct in our words and thoughts in Jesus' name we pray Amen. So this is this is kind of I don't know formatted funny here everything is squished together but I think you can see everything well enough starting transplant this is this is a key both I am assuming that that you all are pretty much home gardeners Is that correct how many Well let's see how can I ask this. Anybody who's not a home gardener raise your hand Ok Alan I'm wondering why you're here Alan. But. Ok yeah so I'm going to try to keep this fairly basic and not that I know a whole lot more than what I'm hearing here but just trying to make sure that somebody who's never done this before. Is able to to gain something let me just ask you how many of you have tried. Growing transplants with. With unsatisfactorily results. Ok I kind of suspected that So what what are some of the un satisfactory results. Speak up I can't death. Yeah well that's pretty young satisfactory. Slow growth. Poor germination damping off at least you know enough to know what it's called Ok that's good so we're going to we're going to look at those. Things but 1st I want to just I don't know you probably can't read that but here's a quote from the youth's instructors August 16th 1900 the cultivation of the soil the sowing of the seed the care bestowed on the seed by the so are 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 sow our seeds I just want us to keep in mind the spiritual lessons to be learned there it's beautiful it's amazing it's a miracle that you never want to grow old to see plants German the seeds Germany and grow so just quickly why use transplants Well you know you wouldn't be here probably if you didn't. Have your reasons but it's transplants lengthen the growing season they insure a full bed you know there's nothing that. Well I really dislike Apache bed. Because for a market gardener that's that's money I'm not making any time there's a skip in the bed so by growing transplants I can insure and you always grow a few extra if something eat some off you can fill it in and so you wish to ensure a full bed it's making the most use of your space. And that's kind of what I said here helps you use your garden space more efficiently a strong healthy transplant is better able to withstand pests and disease compared to direct seeding gives you a huge jump on the weeds I don't you don't want to underestimate that you know I think probably all of you had the experience you tell up the garden in the spring and you plant a bunch of seeds and you come back a week later and it's like Ok I know they're out here somewhere amongst all the weeds right why is it that we'd always grow faster than your garden see. There's a few exceptions to that but by by planting transplants you can cultivate immediately you know exactly where your plants are it's huge and also back to the other one better able to withstand pests I don't know if you had this experience and it seems to be for me at least especially with beats. You use direct seed beats and you go out a few days later in Psycho they're coming up you can see them coming up and then you go out a few days later it's like wait a minute I'm sure there were beets right here and they've just disappeared. Well we've learned a culprit. This year well no actually last year the goldfinch. Has has the nickname the salad bird. And they decimated this fall our beats are swiss chard even full grown Swiss chard they're just pecking the leaves and totally ruining them for market so anyway that's getting off the subject but. The point is transplants help to offset a lot of these challenges Why grow your own transplants Well you can save a lot of money in the long term you can get the exact varieties you want you can I think you can grow better quality transplants than you're going to buy at the store and this is key you're growing and planting on your schedule not when the box stores have the plan you know if you want to grow early or later many times they have lots of plants in the spring but in the fall if you're getting into fall gardening it's like where do I get my plants they don't have them. If you're getting into succession planting you have to grow your own transplants and it's fun it really can be fun so let's talk about the 3 biggest challenges as I see it from my own experience and from talking to others number one spend only our leggy starts how many of you have experience that Ok Number 2 damping off we talked about that and this well we'll talk more about it in a minute. Plant just keeling over and dying. So what happened. And then the lack of balance fertility in my mind these are the 3 biggest challenges for market gardeners. And the good news is I said market gardeners the 3 biggest challenges for gardeners The good news is the solutions are pretty simple isn't that. A breath of fresh air to hear you know any that were in our strawberries seminar yesterday I think we we convinced everybody not to grow strawberries because of all the challenges of growing strawberries but this is pretty simple solutions so let's just go through the and let me just say. When did we start here 1045 so it goes through my goal is to get through this part in the 1st half or so and then the 2nd half of the class I want to talk about the specific methods we use for starting transplants and even demonstrate here if all goes well so those are the 3 challenges you've seen this kind of thing leggy starts. The solution is simple the your plants are not getting enough light. And sometimes it might be related to too much heat but it's almost always a lack of light and they say well but I've got them in the window. Windowsills never produce enough light. Don't ask me why but I've never seen anybody be able to grow strong healthy transplants in a window sill. Are you saying you do grow them. Ok really big south facing window so I guess it can be done but rarely do people have the ideal set up for that. So the solution is simple use fluorescent shop lights and this is a key just this close to your plants. You know a lot of people may have it hanging up here and that's not doing anything. It's got to be close almost touching it. And then as as the plant grows you raise it up you know you can get very simple set ups and let me just tell you right now before I forget there is a handout on the Web site that I did with a lot of details with links and a lot of details about. How we do it and how you can do it links to making a grow. Light stand and all kinds of stuff so try to take advantage of that handouts. Starting transplants. So that's really the solution now I will say l e D's that's the way things are going now I do not have a lot of personal experience with l e D's but I know that they work what I what I have I think been able to figure out is the l.a. De Lay light is more intense generally speaking than like a fluorescent light so it doesn't have to be as close you may be able to have it 6 inches above the plant or something again I have not because I have my fluorescents I haven't switched over to l e D's yet but that's the way it's going and of course you can buy fancy l.e.d. grow lights which they use a lot in the cannabis industry and stuff. Those are very expensive but then you can just get simple l e d shop light kind of things much cheaper and. Even with fluorescents you don't have to have special grow light bulbs even standard fluorescent bulbs will do quite satisfactory. So in this varies on what you're growing but if you're growing your heat loving crops you know like tomatoes and peppers and stuff you want to germinate them at quite a high temperature you know 7580 even $85.00 somewhere in there. And by the way you all got Johnny's catalogs in your. Bag of goodies Johnnie's is an incredible resource and it's not like we're getting paid by Johnny's or anything to endorse them but their catalogs are almost like a textbook for every variety of seed in there they have a little chart showing you the ideal temperature for germination so incredibly helpful information and a bunch of cultural information also on each seed varieties so it's a very good resource even if you don't buy your seed from them. Ok So anyway if you're growing those heat loving plants once they get germinated you can cut back on the temperatures which will help to keep them from stretching does that make sense they won't grow as fast at lower temperatures Ok so that solves your leggy starts problem simple enough you have a more light. It's on the Web site Yeah I I mean I like to have physical handouts but I got the idea that they weren't. Encouraging that it's a lot of work for the programming committee to do all that So anyway it's on the website also one other little thing petting the plants can help to stiffen their stems with you tomatoes plants you just go out. Good morning how are you and you just paid them a little bit and that's that's good for giving them stronger stems. Ok let's go off to damp go on to damping off causes what causes damping off well it's a number of soil borne fungal species. This is the big key from my observation over water and. I'm convinced more transplants are gild by overwatering than anything else. And or lack of proper air circulation so we'll look at things we can do for that here shortly poor soil drainage. You know and again that has to do with watering but if if the soil is just staying too damp then damping off makes sense that would be the you know damp salt causes damping off cool soil temperatures the organisms that the fungal organisms that cause damping off thrive at lower soil temperatures so that could also be. A consideration. And back to somebody saying Poor germination damping off can affect both the seeds and the seedlings so you may think it was poor germination when it was actually damping off that got the seed before you ever saw it come out of the ground. Obviously just while we're talking about porridge germination another big cause of porridge germination is poor seed if it's old seed. And that varies depending on the crop but there's certain crops that you really need new seed pretty much every year. Like the allium family the onions and stuff they have a reputation for not keeping their germination potential long term so if you're going to try to store seeds for long periods of time. Use a refrigerator or better yet a freezer put them in airtight containers and put them in the freezer Ok that's just the bonus points there. So let's look at the solutions so here you see a larger tomato plant. With that shriveled up stem right at the soil surface and I see people shaking their heads like. How do you get a picture of my plan. For the most part by the time a plant gets this big you usually don't have issues with damping off it's usually at a much smaller stage but obviously you can have issues at a larger stage so 1st thing is I would recommend that you use a soil less peat or core which is coconut husk base potting mix Why do you want to use a soil less potting mix because your soil may very likely might have some of these fungal organisms that cause damping off. Whereas with a soil list mix. You know they often sterilize it which seems to go against a lot of. Of tenets of organic agriculture and that's true but. I would say this if if you have really worked on your soil and you have really vibrant healthy soil your soil could be a positive addition to your potting mix but for most of us we're not there yet and you're taking a big risk by using soil from your garden in your potting mix. So it makes sense so to just go with the professional grade potting mix. Number 2 let your soil dry out some between waterings I know it's hard to not water right you know you've got these little babies out there and they're looking good but oh you look like you're thirsty let me give you low water and and you're over watering so it's Ok Now of course once or before you see the seed coming out of the ground you really want to make sure that the soil stays moist on some level but once it's come up once is germinated. It's Ok for the surface of the soil to dry out a little bit you don't want to get it dusty dry but it doesn't you don't want it staying really wet. Ok So that is I'd To me this is the key here. Don't over water and obviously in this is where you get in trouble with the timer you know you put it on a timer and say Ok it needs 30 minutes a day sprinkler overhead and but then you have a cloudy day cloudy cool day and it's not going to dry out very much and then you're watering when you shouldn't be so there's nothing like. Human reason and judgment to guide you with that I don't know Alan do you have your your starts house automated. Ok he's just saying that there's too much inconsistent seas of watering to to do it automated unless you're really high tech and yeah I would agree you know I spent a lot of time in the greenhouse watering in the spring when it's full of plants we were talking. Our 2 hours watering plants but it's important you know and it's not something that I'm ready to give up to a time or yet so you know you've got to judge each day is different keep plants and water warm these disease organisms thrive under 50 degrees Fahrenheit so if you're you know you're starting your plant early in the spring. And you're up in Michigan and it's 20 degrees outside and you're getting your water straight out of. I don't know where but if that water is really cold that is really hard on plants. So you want to wait to warm it up and you know obviously you don't want to hot but just kind of lukewarm water. That does sound biblical. Luke warm Ok use a small fan for air circulation we haven't really gone to this much but if you're having a lot of problems with damping off just getting a small fan and I mean small not you know you don't want to be blowing your plants all over the place but just creating a little air flow might help. So anything else Ok last resort there is a product organically approved actin of a that I have used quite a bit and I can say from my own experience that it actually does work activate again it's. It's some kind of beneficial biology I can't tell you much more about it at this point some beneficial strain of bacteria I think it is that that is is quite good at dealing with some of these soil borne pathogens the key with activate though is you have to be proactive if you wait till you see a problem it's too late so you can you put it into your mix when you make your. Well I'm going to show you how to make soil blocks but however you do it in plug trays or whatever you can just mix it in then or watered the plants with it it's a water soluble solution. So I don't think most of you will have to go to that length if you just follow these other suggestions but it is an option if you're still struggling with damping off so you're all comfortable with the solutions for damping off pretty simple back off on the watering bring the water temperature up get a good potting mix don't just go out and. Fill your pots with wood soil from outside chances are that's going to backfire. Ok let's go on to the 3rd one lack of balance fertility. So again use a professional potting mix you know these companies this is their business they are making mixes fertile nurseries for large. Companies that's all they do is grow transplants so chances are they're going to know more about potting mix than you are so why not just stick with somebody who knows what they're doing now I will say we made our own potting mix for many years and I have the recipe in the handout it can be done and we had very high quality mix. We got away from it well 2 reasons number one we used the recipe called for blood meal and we wanted to steer away from blood meal and we could never find a satisfactory replacement for blood meal in our mix that gave us the same consistent results. And the 2nd reason was just because it's a lot of work when you're doing a lot of transplants to make your own mix it's definitely cheaper and you can get a good result if you have a good recipe. But currently we're using birthday o.m. one it's it's a mix that overall we're we're very happy with. And it saves a lot of time and hassle never skimp on container size this is always an issue you know you go to the box stores to buy transplants and they have tomatoes this tall with these tiny little root balls the only way they can get them that big is by doing a lot of fertilising with water soluble fertiliser is because there's no way that root mass can support enough fertility to grow a plant that big. That's so the bigger the container the last chance you're going to have with running out of fuel for that plant does that make sense and again this is one reason why we like soil blocks but if if there's a question do I use this container or this is always err on the bigger side. It's just you know that's going to be adding organic matter to your garden so it's not like you're wasting money on potting mix you don't overwater you know there are certain nutrients in the mix that are going to run there are going to leach out and the more you water the faster that's going to leach out so again that's a that's a call to not over water. Then also there's other crops that benefit from being potted on like tomatoes for example in talk about this more here but you often start. In very small containers and then take those and put them in a larger container and you may do that we do it often with tomatoes 2 times pot I'm on twice and that bigger container gives them more root growth but it also gives them more fertility because you're giving them more soil fertile soil. That makes sense are you all tracking Ok keep your growing area warm. So there there are a number of nutrients that only become available to the plant as the temperatures warm so that's why many times in the early spring plants just you know you just put him out in the garden maybe your bras because there's something that can handle some cold but they're just like. This is no fun. And then all of a sudden as soon as it starts warming up their legs boom you know they just go to town it's because the nutrients are now becoming available to that plant so it can. Can do its thing so don't don't try to grow transplants in the basement if you don't have any kind of heat down there because they're not going to thrive in that environment. Ok Any questions on that. So you've got your problems solved so we'll take a couple questions here. Does the o.m. one from Berge a supply all our fertility needs Generally speaking yes with our soil blocks. I have noticed that for our fall plantings and I haven't figured out what it is but bras because they. Do great in the spring in the oh I'm one mix in the fall don't seem to have enough fertility. I don't know. Allan probably could have a very. Clear explanation of why that might be but so I have found that in the fall in when I say in the fall I'm really talking about in the heat of summer because we're planting our fall Bronson because our heading bras because 1st of July middle of July yes. That's that's a very good. Theory that we're watering more in the summertime so the nutrients are leeching out quick and that's actually a good good explanation so we are we are starting to supplement a little bit with our bras because in the summer Ok one other question here. Yeah Ok so what is the ideal size or time for potting on. I think and I'm I think maybe you will kind of hold off on that for. For the soil block demonstration because I think that will kind of help to explain it. Yeah one more question let me just see yeah Ok let's go ahead and take a few questions here because we're going to transition. Yeah good question so how do you start fall crops in the heat of summer that's a challenge and I would say don't start in the greenhouse because it's just too hot in there I mean unless you have a lot of fans and shade cloth and stuff. You know they can just be started inside under grow lights or something that's probably a simple solution once once they germinate then they can handle the warmer temperatures but they don't like it you know so that's that's one of the big challenges of fall growing is getting the plants through the heat of summer to the fall where they just they love it you know all the sudden they'll just take off but you know yeah stardom in cooler temperatures give them lots of water don't let them get water stressed kelp I think is a great thing kelp spray you know that that is a good thing to to help keep them. What would you they're not thriving but help keep them surviving and still the weather cool. Ok Any other questions yes back. Ok Will leggy starts. Make it that's a good question in depends on the crop and. Yeah there's a number of variables there but you know one good thing that many of you probably know about tomatoes is if they're leggy you just plant some deep or plant them on their side in then turn it up so you know tomatoes are one of those plants that you can you can recover from leg transplants. Others. I don't know I would be nice to hear from others my experience is they may make it but they'll never thrive. They just. Yeah it's just. It's hardly worth planting leggy transplant that's my experience other than tomatoes. Ok So somebody sharing that starting over the new ones can often outpace the old ones yeah it just compromises them somehow and they just don't thrive Yes. What mix. Of Eagan mix. Down to Earth vegan mix I'm not familiar with it I don't know where you get it is that an actual potting mix or a fertiliser you it's a it's a fertilizer Yeah you can certainly try you know you can try do your own experimenting with with the potting mix. You know part of it is what readily available in your area because shipping of course can get very expensive especially if you're doing a lot of it so it's good to look around and ideally go to some organic farmers in your area and say What do you using for starting transplants and maybe you can even buy some bales of potting mix from them. Question here and then one more the back to. Where do we source it well we have a nursery supply place a couple hours away from us. Yeah so sources as close to home as possible that's for sure but actually this year we're actually getting a half a tractor trailer load drop shipped to us from the. From the manufacturers so. You can get about $100.00 of your gardening friends and go together on a half a tractor trailer load. Ok we need to move on so what's worked best for us so blocks. They I'm convinced nobody has ever been able to convince me otherwise and I could share lots of stories that they produce the highest quality transplants they have more soil volume then most. Transplant containers any kind of plug trays and of course that soil volume means more root volume it means more fertility It means healthier plants there's less root shock when they go into the garden because there's they're not the roots aren't being bothered as much. It's a modular system that I'll show you here quickly it's simple and sustainable you know it's just seems much more. Wholesome then buying stacks of plastic you know throw away kinds of trays that you get with a lot of things. The blockers are available from Johnny's selected seeds and they also are on amazon although when I looked this last week they were out of stock with some of them on Amazon I think you all are aware that. Man you've got to be on top of things right now because everybody's getting into gardening there's going to be shortages of all kinds of things. So. Yeah. Make sure you plan ahead I'm going to skip this just for time's sake this is a fun quote from Education Page Page 111 that talks about oh I'll just point out the the italicized part she says the attention required in transplanting that not even a root fiber be crowded or misplace that kind of my my argument for soil blocking because I think that that does that better than any other method but I'm not trying to tell you that this is the only method that works. You know that it's the only God approved method I'm not going to say that but it works well and I think especially for home gardeners there are a lot of arguments against it from a market gardening scale because it's more labor intensive than doing plug trays or other kinds of starters but for a home garden scale that's not so much of an issue right you're not you're not doing thousands of blocks and so I highly recommend it for home gardeners for market gardeners we still use it but there are a lot of market gardeners who say the benefits don't outweigh the. Negatives you know so rather than let's see tell me again when we're stopping 1145. Ok so I think rather than going through more slides. We're going to try to do is demonstrate this and this something I haven't. Done and Elia class before so bear with me here I don't know how this is going to work but let me just show you these soil blockers 1st. Sorry to have or has to clean up this place. This is the mini blocker this makes 20 tiny little blocks. And this is used for starting your heat loving plants either heat loving plants or those that take a long time to germinate so what are your heat loving plants tomatoes peppers bays ole eggplant specifically those for and then your longtime to germination would be celery and parsley those kind of things we started in this and the beauty of this is for the for the heat loving plants you can put a lot of plants on a heat mat and start a lot of plant I can start 800 plants on a. Mat I have I guess is 2 feet by 4 feet. 800 starts on that one thing. And that's a great advantage of the little ones and then what happens and kind of back to your question about when to pod on so basically with these mini blocks Well let me say 1st that this requires a finer potting mix then we would use for the bigger blocks so we actually use o.e.m. 2 for this o.e.m. to mix which is a finer mix I have some of it right here in this bag and. You know I forgot where I was going with this. Oh yes so as far as potting on basically as soon as it's germinated. As soon as you see it coming up and of course you know the German they won't all germinate at the same time so I usually wait you know a day or 2 until pretty much everything's germinated Now one little trick the seeds that take a long time to germinate are going to be less vigorous plant so you know it's easy to think oh well I'll just wait another day or 2 try to get these last ones to germinate again usually that's a waste of time and again I'm trying to figure out the spiritual lessons haven't quite figured it out you know the whole culling idea. But anyway I'm sure it's there somewhere. But just to your your your 1st plants to germinate are going to be your most vigorous and hardy plants. So then from this you can go up to. This. This is a 2 inch block here and this actually has the 3 quarter inch inserts you see that. So you're making a block that has the perfect size for these little ones so you literally just you know. Plop them in like this you know traditionally. Growers have seeded like tomatoes in the flat just seeded a bunch of tomatoes and then it's called pricking they're pricking out individual c. And you know the the roots are all intertwined and stuff and I think this is just so much easier and better. So this is the 2 inch block again you can have these 3 quarter inch inserts or you can have just a standard Dibble insert like this they just pop in and now. And this is this is the inch and a half block or we use this one and this is in the slide show here but I'm just I'm choosing to demonstrate rather than finish show so you can go back and look at the slide show later on. We use this for things like let us. Even kale and color it's the heading bras because we use the bigger 2 inch blocks because we keep them in the block a little longer so the size of the transplant is really all dependent on the size of the block. And as far as potting on goes basically. You pot on when you see that the plant the roots have kind of filled in the block so to speak before you don't want the roots this their air pruned with this they come to the edge and it's like they're feeling there's nothing out there so they just kind of stop whereas with a container they get to the edge and they start circling in then they get what's called root bound. So this helps with that but but even with this they'll get to the adds and then like what do I do here. And then eventually they will start going into the blocks next to them but. Ideally you want to either pot on or plant into the ground kind of you don't want to interrupt the growth of the roots does that make sense so as soon as you see that they're getting to the edge of the block in are poised to keep going pot of on or plant them out. And that's usually. These usually will hold the plant about 3 weeks and the 2 inch blocker will hold a plant for about 4 weeks that's a general you know obviously just differences from plant to plant. Now for tomatoes and peppers an eggplant we go a 3rd step and there's actually I'll just jump ahead here. Well I guess I don't well I had a picture of the 4 inch blocker Where is it. Yes back here see this big one here. That's done with a 4 inch blocker that has a 2 inch hole so you can you can go from the 3 quarter to the 2 went to the 4 inch it's all very modular for home gardener the 4 inch one would be a good option although it's kind of expensive these these are about $30.00 they come from England. You know I feel like that's pretty reasonable cost thing. But that 4 inch blockers like a 100 bucks so you may not want to go that route and actually we have gone to the 6 inch pots. Because it's a lot faster when you're growing. Hundreds of them to block one of the time was just a bit much and I will say they have stand up versions of this for market gardeners So we're not using these little ones you know rather than doing 5 at a time with the inch and a half we do 20 at a time and 4 at a time with a 2 inch we do 12 at a time with a stand up blocker but that's overkill for home gardeners. Ok let me just see oh yes so we pot on to these big pots for getting the best jump in the spring and one little tip I'm sure many of you have struggled with eggplant and flea beetles you all know about flea beetles you put a little eggplant out in the garden chances are you know it depends where you are in the country but that that eggplant will be decimated by flea b. But if you put it in a 6 inch pot and get it this big. Is hard for the flea beetles to kill in. This media was brought to you by audiophiles a website dedicated to spreading God's word through free sermon audio and much more if you would like to know more about audio version or if you would like to listen to more sermon leave visit w w w dot audio Verse dot org.

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