Based on the specific crop and time of year, different planting techniques can be used. Everything starts with a seed and all crops eventually find a home in the field.
Tomatoes, eggplant, peppers, and seedless watermelons are started in plastic or styrofoam trays. They are grown in the greenhouse for 4-6 weeks before transplanting into the field. They are grown in a peat-perlite potting mix and receive weekly feedings with a liquid 20-20-20 fertilizer.
The South Florida weather in August and September makes it a challenge to start the crops. We start most of them in a shaded greenhouse, and then put them out in the sun before they are set into the fields. Lettuce flats must be put into the cooler for a few days to get the seeds to germinate.
Punching holes for seeds
Whether we are transplanting or seeding individual seeds by hand, most planting holes are made using wheels with pointed “punchers” spaced at the appropriate distances. Smaller crops, such as peppers, are spaced 10" apart, many in two rows per bed; tomatoes, eggplant, squashes, and other larger plants are spaced 20" apart in single rows.
Most baby or large greens, carrots, onion, turnips, beets, beans, kohlrabi, and some herbs are seeded in solid rows, without using a plastic mulch. Some are seeded by hand, others using a tractor-pulled seeder. Depending on seed size and the spacing we want, we may use a Planet Jr., a pinpoint seeder, an Earthway seeder, or a Jang seeder.