Saturday, April 12, 2014

Playing Catchup


I thought today I would backtrack & go over some of the seeds that I started back in February, pre-blog.  This way, when you see me planting, say, my parsley, you won’t be asking yourself – “hey…where did that come from?”

The first seeds that I sowed were my hot pepper seeds in mid-February.  Peppers are a vegetable that I had no luck with in my first garden many years ago and have not grown since.  So, in terms of experience, I am starting from scratch on this one and I knew the learning curve would be huge – and I was right.

I started the hot peppers first ("Hungarian Hot Wax") because I had read that they can take a long time to germinate.  And boy, they weren’t kidding.  I sowed the seeds on February 19th and by March 2nd I still had no germination.  I was getting a bit anxious so I decided to pre-germinate more seeds.  Even these took a long time, the first germinating 11 days later!

To make a long story short, on March 15th the first hot pepper sown in February emerged from the soil – that’s one month later!  Lesson learned here – always pre-germinate peppers, especially hot peppers.   At least this way I will know if the seeds are not viable within a relatively short period of time so that I can start new seeds and not be too far behind (11 days vs. 1 month!!).

By contrast, the sweet peppers ("King of the North") were a variable breeze – I placed the seeds in paper towels to pre-germinate on March 2nd and they germinated three days later.  I sowed them in cell packs and they emerged from the soil in 7 days.  Easy peasy - comparatively speaking that is.

So here are my pepper plants now:
 

Hot & Sweet Peppers - "Hungarian Hot Wax" & "King of the North"
 
You will notice that there are a few cells that have nothing in them.  These are the hot peppers sown in February that never germinated.  I sowed 8 cells (2 seeds in each) and only 4 have germinated.  At one point I was even anxious about the pre-germinated seeds as they seemed to be taking a long time to pop up after I sowed them.  I ended up sowing several more sweet peppers, just in case.  So what you see in the picture are pepper plants that are all at various stages of growth.  And as a final note, the last of the February sown hot peppers germinated yesterday - geez!  I know that gardeners are supposed to be patient, but really – a two month wait for germination?

On to parsley and collards.  No story here (thank God!).  For the parsley, I sowed two flat leaf varieties that I had from last year - “Comune 2” and “Gigante di Napoli”.  I soaked the seeds overnight, then sowed them on March 13th.  Comune 2 emerged on March 23 and Gigante appeared 3 days later.



Flat Leaf Parsley - "Comune 2 & Gigante de Napoli"
 
I also sowed 2 varieties of collards – “Vates”, which I grew last year and were fabulous (other than my battle with cabbage worms & slugs) and a new one called “Beira Tronchuda” which is a Portuguese variety.  According to the William Dam catalogue, Beira is “sweet and tender having better flavour...than collards”.  I pre-germinated the seeds and they only took one day to germinate – now that’s what I like to see!  I then sowed 3 of each variety.  Collards can grow pretty large & since I only have a 2’ x 3’ space allocated for them, 6 is my limit (using a 12” spacing).


Collards - "Vates" & "Beira Tronchuda"

The only other vegetables that I started in February/March were onions & shallots.  I’m a true allium lover - I mean, they are right up there on my list with tomatoes – no kidding!  So I will be doing a separate post on those because they deserve VERY special treatment.
 
At the moment I am hardening off my collard & onion seedlings. The raised beds for these seedlings are nowhere near built (haven’t even purchased the wood yet – guess what I’m doing tomorrow..) but I figure that hardening them off will give me that added push to get my beds done ASAP.



Collards & onions hardening off on my front porch

You know spring has arrived when all the hard surfaces on the outside of our house have some form of chalk art on them J.

Till next time….

“Enjoy the little things, for one day you may look back and realize they were the big things” ~~ Robert Brault

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