So far I have only started a few plants for the summer’s garden. The habanero and serrano peppers are doing well and the serrano peppers are really growing. The red storage onions are starting nicely. The chamomile continues to get bigger; with any luck we will be able to make homegrown tea with chamomile, green tea leaves, and an assortment of other herbs. The pimento peppers are also doing nicely. Because peppers like the soil nice and warm I have been using an old heating pad under the plants. This is my first year using larger domes over the plant trays to help create little greenhouses. So far they seem to be working very well. The plants are staying moister without the need to water them everyday and they have better color than last year. Even though the lights are farther away from the top of the plants, because of the larger dome, they seem to be doing fine.
Next week will be a big week for starting seeds. I will be starting a host of tomato seeds. A few days later I will also be starting the rootstock. About two weeks after that I will try grafting the plants together. That should be an adventure. My uncle sent down a couple of Big Zacs (known around here as Big Jakes) that he grafted to rootstock a number of months ago. We don’t know whether it is because of the grafting or being in a greenhouse but they are the healthiest tomatoes I have had. The leaves are bigger, the stalks thicker, and the color greener. We even have more blossoms than Big Zacs I have grown. A couple of the plants are in my yard and seem to be adjusting to our winter. We have had a number of near freezing nights in Phoenix recently. I expect I am still a few months away from a ripe tomato but that will be a couple of months sooner than I will pick any from our garden. Jake is excited to make salsa with homegrown Big Jakes again. Unfortunately we don’t have any Avamatoes for Ava, but they’ll grow quickly once started.