Family Farms are about Good Food
At Rain Crow Ranch we love good food! Yes, we are very proud to raise the highest quality and healthiest protein on the planet. However, man does not live by beef, pork and chicken alone. Even when our ancestors were hunter / gatherers people ate what was available and seasonal.
Though our farm does not sell any fruits and vegetables, we do raise a garden for our family. Though not as large as it once was, we still endeavor to put up the essentials; tomatoes, beans, herbs, lettuce, peppers, squash.
I especially love to grow heirloom tomatoes. I usually get our seeds from Seed Savers Exchange. Seed Savers is a non-profit group committed to passing on our garden heritage by saving and sharing heirloom seeds.
In February, we begin our seeds. This is about 8 weeks before the last expected spring frost. I get help from Logan and Katie Grace to start these seeds inside so they will be ready to put out once that threat of frost passes. Usually around the first of April.
Logan then puts out the peat cups and fills with potting soil for the tomatoes to germinate. We keep the temperature in this room at 70-80 until the seeds germinate.
We then back off the temperature to about 60 and put the cups under lights. As the seeds germinate you have to keep that soil moist. It will take about 7-10 days for the little seedling to emerge under these conditions. As soon these babies poke up their heads, it is time to put them under the lights.
There are lots of commercially available grow lights but I have pretty good luck with shop lights with T-8 bulbs. That light comes closest to being what sunlight would offer. Then as the seeds grow we move the lights up.
Our baby plants need tender loving care, or basically water, light and warmth! I put a pan under the little peat cups so that can absorb mositure from the bottom as you don’t want to keep them soggy.
When the seedlings are several inches tall and have several true leaves we will move them to deeper containers.