Seedlings from Left Field Farm
Available by late April at the Portland Foods Coop, Morning Glory Natural Foods in Brunswick, and the South Portland Farmers Market (Sun 10-2).
- We harden-off seedlings prior to sale by moving them from the greenhouse to the outdoors for a few days, where some wind and rain strengthen the tops; they are ready to plant when you get them.
- Water seedlings prior to transplanting. Remove the plant from the pot by gently squeezing the pot on the sides to loosen.
- It’s best to transplant at the end of the day and water them in, or transplant when it is overcast. Disturb the root system as little as possible unless you see that the plant is root-bound - gently tease apart some roots prior to planting if that is the case. Place the plant gently in the ground and firm in the surrounding soil. Most plants should be planted to about the same soil level as the pot they're in (tomatoes are an exception, see below about tomatoes).
- Space plants far enough apart so that when they are full grown they are not crowded. You can find simple spacing information as well as more detailed info for setting up a 'square foot garden' plot here.
- Transplant to healthy, fertile garden soil - adding compost is a good idea (it retains moisture in sandy soils, helps with with drainage in clay soils, and is full of microorganisms necessary for a healthy soil and healthy plants). If planting in a container use a good quality potting soil.
- If you want to get an in-depth analysis of your garden soil, soil tests are available from the University of Maine Soil Testing Service.
- Raised beds warm up faster, provide lots of growing depth, and good drainage for air and water.
- Protect frost sensitive plants (basil, tomatoes, peppers, eggplant, cosmos, zinnias…) from temperatures below 33′F by using floating row covers, or tarps, sheets or plastic (or just wait to plant outside until the danger of frost has passed). Southern Maine’s frost-free season usually starts in early May and lasts until the beginning of October.
- Vegetable and herb plants prefer full sun (at least 6 hrs)!
- Pull weeds when they're small. Plants thrive with less competition from weeds for light, water, and nutrients.
- All about tomatoes: The hairs on the stem will develop into roots, so pruning off the lowest leaves and burying the root ball deep will give the plant a nice strong root system. Prune off any open flowers at the time of transplanting. Prune lower leaves as the plant grows for better air circulation and disease prevention. You can also prune suckers to encourage larger fruit. As the plant gets tall you can prune the top to keep it’s height down (this will encourage it to start branching out from lower suckers so some of these still need to be intact).
- Check out Johnny's Seeds' excellent Grower's Library for more detailed information.
- Are your seedlings organic? Yes, all of our seedlings are certified organic and grown without the use of pesticides or fungicides.
- What potting soil do you use? We use a certified organic approved potting soil from Maine company Living Acres. It is a soilless mix made of peat, compost, and perlite.
- Where do your seeds come from? We purchase seeds mainly from Johnny's Selected Seeds (Maine), High Mowing Organic Seeds (Vermont), and Fedco Seeds (Maine). Some herb cuttings come from Hillcrest Nursery (Maryland). You can look up more about particular varieties (see below) on their websites.
- Is the seed organic? Are any genetically modified? We purchase organic seed if available, but some varieties we like are only available as conventional seed. They are all non-GMO.
- What varieties do you choose? All of the seedling varieties that we sell are ones we grow out on the farm as well. They are well suited to our coastal Maine climate (and the taste is farmer-approved). Below is a list of most varieties by item.
- Vegetable Varieties: Broccoli - Belstar; Cabbage - Farao; Cauliflower - Bishop; Cilantro - Calypso; Cucumber - Marketmore (slicing), Calypso (pickling); Greens Mix - Ruby Streaks Mustard, Mizuna, Tatsoi, Kales, and Arugula; Kale - Lacinato, Ripbor, Red Russian; Lettuce - Adriana, Alkindus, Green Forest, New Red Fire, Skyphos, Starfighter, Tropicana, Two Star; Peppers (bull horn) - Carmen, Oranos, Xanthi; Peppers (bell) - Ace, Gourmet, Sweet Sunrise; Peppers (hot) - Early Jalapeño; Spinach - Space; Summer Squash - Slick Pik, Zephyr; Swiss Chard - Bright Lights; Tomato (cherry) - Sun Gold, Sweet 100, Yellow Mini; Tomato (heirloom) - Ananas Noir, Black Prince, Brandywine, Cherokee Purple, Green Zebra, Rose, San Marzano, Striped German, Yellow Brandywine; Tomato (red) - Big Beef, New Girl; Tomato (orange) - Chef's Choice Orange; Zucchini - Dunja, Yellowfin.
- Herb Varieties: Basil - Eleonora, Rosie (purple), Sweet Thai; Chives; Dill - Goldkrone; Lavender - Munstead; Mint - Kentucky Colonel Spearmint, Peppermint; Oregano - Italian; Parsley - Moss Curled, Giant of Italy; Rosemary - Arp, Gorizia, Upright; Sage - Berggarten; Thyme - English, French.
- Flower Varieties: Cosmos - Sensation Mix; Nasturtium - Jewel Mix; Sunflowers - Soraya, Jade, Strawberry Blonde; Zinnia - Benary's Giant.