Uwharrie Farm

  (Asheboro, North Carolina)
Sharing tips and how-to information on growing and preparing delicious and nutritious food.
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Seed Starting: How to Grow Your Own Transplants

Seedlings under florescent lights  Seedlings outside on a warm, sunny day  Corn seedlings 

The basis of a healthy transplant is a good soil-less potting mix.  Using a soil-less mix eliminates disease organisms, pests and weed seeds that may be found in soil.   I prefer organic and mix my own.   There are a number of potting mixes available at local stores including organic mixes.  You may want to experiment with various mixes or mix your own.

Basic Organic Potting Mix Recipe

2 parts Compost 

3 parts Sphagnum Peat Moss

1 part Perlite

1 part Vermiculite (optional)

Add per every 8 gallons of mix:

½ cup Bone Meal (Phosphorous)

1 ½  cups Dolomitic Limestone (Raises soil pH and provides calcium and magnesium)

½ cup Blood Meal (Nitrogen)

½ cup Kelp Meal (Nitrogen, potassium and minerals)

Mix thoroughly and add enough water to moisten well.

If you can't find organic fertilizers locally Espoma and Peaceful Valley Farm Supply have a wide selection to choose from.

Put potting mix in plant cells or 3 inch pots and add seed.  As a general rule cover the seed with a layer of mix that is 4 times the width of the seed.  Place in a sunny window, a greenhouse, or under florescent lights.  Keep evenly moist.  Most vegetables will grow quite nicely at temperatures between 70 and 80 degrees  with 8 hours or more of sunlight or light from florescent bulbs.

Growing transplants rather than direct seeding can give you a head start on the growing season.  Transplants in the garden also have an advantage over the smaller weeds that germinate around them which makes weeding easier.  Planting corn at 2 week intervals will give you an extended harvest.  Using corn transplants rather than direct seeding makes better use of your garden area.  No space is wasted because of poor germination and seed is not lost through plant thinning.  I like to grow the following plants to transplant to my garden:  Onions, cabbage, lettuce, broccoli, collards, tomatoes, peppers, eggplant, cucumbers, watermelon, cantaloupe, okra, pumpkin, squash and corn.



Free range turkey

     When I was a child, Thanksgiving on the farm was a special time.  Mom got up very early to chop onions and celery for the traditional dressing that was stuffed inside the large turkey which she always baked for Thanksgiving.  It had to be put in the oven early as she let it bake long and slow until lunchtime.  Then there was dough to make for the yeast rolls.  There must be enough time for the dough to rise twice before baking the rolls.  After breakfast relatives would come.  The ladies would help Mom in the kitchen, the men would go hunting with my Dad and we children would play and anticipate the coming feast.  After lunch the ladies cleaned up the dishes, the men could hunt more and we children could play more. 

     Do you have a special Thanksgiving memory, tradition or recipe?   If so, I invite you to share it with us in the comments section. 

     This recipe for Sweet Potato Casserole is one of my family's favorites.  

Sweet Potato Casserole

3 cups mashed, cooked sweet potatoes

1/2 cup sugar

1/2 cup melted butter

2 eggs, well beaten

1 teaspoon vanilla

1/3 cup milk

Mix these ingredients and spoon into a 2 quart casserole.

Topping:  1/2 cup packed light brown sugar                   2 1/2 tablespoons melted butter

               1/4 cup plain flour                                                 1/2 cup chopped pecans

Combine and sprinkle on potato mixture.  Bake at 350 degrees for approximately 25 minutes.

For a variety of instructions on roasting a turkey visit Food Network.

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