Instructions - Salsa Garden Kit
Planting Directions for the Jiffy Pellets:
- Refer to Individual Seed Instructions on the back side of this sheet for specific plant requirements.
- Expand the pellets by adding two quarts of warm water to the base tray. Pour off excess water when pellets are fully expanded . . . about 1 ½” tall and dark brown.
- Gently pull back netting on top of pellets. Fluff and level surface peat. Sow 2 or 3 seeds per pellet. Cover lightly with peat. Place dome on tray and keep in a warm location away from direct sunlight.
- When first seeds sprout, prop dome open. When all seeds have sprouted, remove dome and place in a sunny location. After first true leaves appear, snip back all shoots except strongest seedling in each pellet.
- Add water to tray when pellets turn light brown. Do not over water. It is important not to leave the plants in the jiffy pellets too long. (They need the nutrients of the soil.)
- To harden off plants, place in shade outside for several days (bring plants in at night). Gradually expose to full sunlight. If you are going to transfer the plants to inside containers, this step is not necessary. (Transfer when plant is about 2 inches tall.)
- To transplant, dig holes deep enough to cover top of pellets. Gently firm the soil around the pellet. Water.
- Hardening: (If you are planning to transplant to an outside garden, you must wait until the temperatures are warm in the late spring. Then, take the plant outdoors for a few hours each day, increasing the time each day over a period of about two weeks until the plant hardens, i.e. gets used to the outside weather. (Be sure to bring plants inside at night.)
- Storage of Seeds: If you store your seeds properly, they will last about three years. Keep the seed in the plastic bags. Make sure they are airtight. Put all the little bags into the mylar bag. Seal it in such a way that it is airtight. Zip it shut. (You want it to be air- tight because if moisture gets into the package, it will ruin the seeds.) Put your package of seeds into the freezer. If you don’t have room in the freezer, you can put them in the refrigerator. The seeds should last from two to three years. Some seeds don’t last that long, for example: peppermint and chives are only good for about a year.
- Peppers: Peppers or Chiles are high in vitamins A and C and also the mineral potassium. Since peppers are warm season plants, many gardeners start seeds indoors and then set seedlings outside once the weather has warmed. Start seeds indoors 6 to 8 weeks before the last frost. Do not set plants outside until all danger of frost is over. If you notice blossoms dropping off, temperatures may be the reason. The actual temperature range for fruit set is quite narrow. If night temperatures fall below 60 degrees F. or above 75 degrees F., blossoms are likely to drop and fruit will not set. Peppers are usually classed as either sweet or hot. When harvesting, remember that sweet peppers become sweeter as they mature and hot peppers become hotter. Peppers will continue to ripen after being picked, so store at room temperature if you wish them to ripen. Ripening will be slowed if they are stored under cool conditions. Peppers should be grown in an area of the garden that receives full sun. Give some protection from wind as pepper plants have a shallow root system and brittle branches. Since plants do not take up much space, they make great container plants. With their fruit, they will provide color and are ideally suited for a sunny deck or patio. Harvesting regularly will encourage the plant to keep blossoming and setting fruit, especially early in the growing season. Pick all fruit regardless of size if there is a threat of frost.
- Tomatoes: Tomatoes are known as an excellent source of vitamin A and C and are the most popular food plants grown by home gardeners. They are a warm season plant and require a long growing season and for this reason most gardeners start seedlings indoors so that they can be set outside after danger of frost is past. Start seeds indoors 5 to 7 weeks before the last frost. Tomatoes are very sensitive to frost so be careful not to set outside until all danger of frost is over. When transplanted outside, bury seedlings up to their first true leaves. Tomatoes should be in full sun, have soil enriched with organic matter (compost), and good drainage. Most tomatoes need some kind of support to keep the fruit off the ground. Tomato cages are a popular method of support. Be sure to get the kind that have large enough openings for you to reach your hand in to harvest.
- Onions: Onions are easy to grow from seed and are one of the first vegetable seeds that can be planted outside in the spring. The soil should have an ample supply of organic matter worked in. Organic matter will supply some fertilizer for the growing plants and it will also hold moisture in the soil. Onions need good drainage, but they also need a good supply of moisture as dry soil will tend to make the bulb split. Start onions indoors about 8 weeks before the last frost. Seeds can be sown outdoors as early in the spring as the ground can be worked. When seedlings are up, thin so that mature bulbs will not touch each other. Usually the more top growth that onion plants produce, the larger the bulb will be. When the tops begin to turn yellow and fall over, this is a signal that harvest is near. At this time, you can bend the tops down to hasten the ripening. Dig up the onion bulbs and let them dry on top of the ground for several days, with the bottom side up. Then remove the tops, clean and store the bulbs in a mesh bag in a dark area with good air circulation.