Another way in which my farm mimics nature is with the rule "survival of the fittest." This philosphy starts early on in my plant's lives, in the greenhouse. When I plan my plantings for the year, I always start by seeding more plants than I will actually need. That not only helps make up for the occasional seed that doesn't germinate at all, but it also allows me to select the most vigorous plants for my farm.
Two weeks ago, I transpotted my tomatoes and peppers. "Transpotting" is when you move a plant from a smaller pot to a larger one, to allow more room for growing. I start my tomatoes and peppers in smaller-celled flats for a few reasons, including saving space in the greenhouse, using less potting soil, and reducing the risk of damping off, a fungal disease that especially affects plants in cooler, wetter conditions. After they've grown, they need to be moved to larger pots so they have enough space to keep growing until it's warm enough to transplant them outdoors.
Transpotting is an important time, because it gives me the chance to select the plants that will bear my future crops. Some things I'm looking for include tall plants, thick stems, the most number of leaves per plant, and vigorous roots.
|Difference in root growth between two plants of the same tomato variety|
|Tomato seedlings moving into their new roomier pots|
|Newly transpotted romas: April 10|
|Romas on April 27: What a difference two weeks can make!|