Guest post by Sarah Renfro, Renee’s Garden Business Manager
The office staff at Renee's Garden spent an afternoon in the garden last week learning how to sow seeds from our Lindsay and Mila, our Trial Gardeners, (with horse Ruby keeping us company in the background). Since our business office is located about 2 miles away from the trial garden, we here at the office don’t get as much “dirt” time as the trial garden staff.
Lindsay is organizing a series of educational sessions for our staff so we can be more confident and familiar with growing our seeds. Everyone in the office, including bookkeeper Cheri, order entry manager Calley, administrative assistant Heidi, customer service Susan and sales associate Kathy will be coming to the trial garden regularly. This week we learned more about the best techniques for seed starting. Some staff members are already experienced with starting seeds inside (Cheri’s husband is a chile pepper freak so she is very familiar!) but others are newbies.
This summer the trial garden will be evaluating many different types of tomatoes and peppers so this was the perfect opportunity for us to help out!
Mid-March is the time to start seeds of tomatoes and peppers in the greenhouse. First we prepared trays with seed starting mix and watered the soil so it is damp but still fluffy. Then we laid out the seeds on top of the soil, about ¼” apart in a grid pattern. Finally we covered the seeds with a thin layer of vermiculite (being careful not to inhale this clay by-product) and gave the trays a gentle watering.
Between all of us we sowed over 500 tomato and pepper seeds! After they germinate and grow a couple of inches, we’ll head back to the greenhouse to transfer the seedlings into individual pots. In another month or so, it’s time to get dirty and plant everything into the ground.
We’ll all be taking home extra seedlings to try in our various home gardens. I am building brand new raised vegetables beds in my front yard this year (more on this in another blog post). Our newest staff member, Heidi will be growing the plants in containers on her deck. One thing is certain – we will all be enjoying the fruits of our labors later this summer!