Monday, March 11, 2013

Why Start Your Own Transplants

There are hundreds of varieties of tomatoes and peppers and there are only about 10-15 varieties available in your local garden center. Even with the Chef Jeff heirlooms that are purchased off the truck for many garden centers, you still only have access to a small fraction of the available genetic material that is available.

We have trialed literally hundreds of tomatoes and peppers over 25 years of growing and have selected varieties that work well in Minnesota and for the purposes that we use them for.

For example

every green house has Sweet 100 cherry tomatoes. Did you know that these are some of the worst tomatoes to crack if you get rain at the wrong time during ripening. There are varieties with better characteristics for sweetness, skin robustness, and root to stem ratio.

It takes time to seek this out, which the retail seller generally doesn't do, if they even know this is a weakness. They are unlikely to know, because they are not growing them. (I frequently see onion plants at WalMart and Home Depot that aren't even the right varieties for this area. When I point this out, they just shrug their shoulders and say that was what they were sent.)

You can also control the growing media and conditions under which your plants are grown. I like to get the plants out side when they have their first true leaves. They are exposed to the full sun and more importantly the wind when they are small, which makes for very robust little plants. Robust is an understatement, these plants are bullet proof.

We have a 100% guarantee on our plants that we sell at the farmers market. I will replace them for any reason other than a deer eating them or frost. These plants are so hardy that I have replaced less than 10 plants in 17 years. Probably most of these were severely neglected, but we replace them anyway. A happy customer is worth it.

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