Saturday, April 11, 2015

Seedling Update - Early April


So it seems that the long range forecasts going into the middle of April were wrong – hurray for that!  We will actually be seeing above seasonal temperatures, with highs in the teens (50's-60'sF) for most of the coming week.  Hard to believe when it's 2C (35F) outside this morning.

Each day – when it’s not raining that is – I am out there scouring the flower beds for any telltale sign that spring is finally here.  Will I finally see some green popping up in the perennial borders & herb bed?  I'm so looking forward to spending more than a few minutes outside (without freezing) and finally being able to tend to the beds.

On the bright side, at least there has been a lot to keep me busy indoors while I'm waiting.


Asparagus

My little asparagus seedlings are a mass of ferns right now.

Asparagus - 8 weeks
 
I planted one seed per cell & every one of the 26 seeds germinated.  A couple of weeks back, I noticed something that got me very excited:

Eye Spy a 2nd Spear!
 
We all know that asparagus crowns produce multiple spears, so I probably should not have been surprised when I saw those 2nd spears, yet surprised I was.  Only 11 of the 26 cells have double spears so far, but I am keeping an eye out for more.


Onions & Leeks

The alliums are now being hardened off so that I can get them into the ground next week.

Onions & Shallots - 7 weeks
Bunching Onions - 5 weeks
 
The onions have received a couple of haircuts in the last few weeks; I usually trim them so that they are about 3” tall or so.

Surprisingly, even though I finished seeding the bunching onion cells (with pre-germinated seeds) over 4 weeks ago, I had some seedlings coming up as late as last week.  I’m still having issues with watering (which may account for the late emergence or absence of some seedlings) but overall, I think I'm doing a better job at keeping the onion flats moist than I did last year.

As for the leeks, the Lancelot are looking good.  The Jolant, however, are not doing nearly as well.

Leek Seedlings - 5 weeks
 
On the bright side, a couple more of the Jolant did come up, although one of them looks pretty weak and likely won't make it.


Brassicas & Spinach

With the turn in our weather, I have now started to harden off the collards, kale & spinach seedlings and they will hopefully be getting into the ground next week.  All of these should have been planted out this past week & the collards especially are on the leggy side, but I'm not too worried.  Last year I transplanted the collards a full 3 weeks late and they did just fine.

Collards, Kale & Spinach Seedlings
3 weeks old
 
At this point, I am especially anxious to get the spinach in the ground while our days are still relatively short.


Peppers

Most of the peppers are sizing up nicely but the seedlings were looking a bit pale.  The seeding mix I use has macro & micro nutrients mixed in that should provide seedlings with all the nutrients they need for the first 6 or 7 weeks.  I love that because it's one less thing to worry about and, as it turns out, only a couple of the veg I grow (like the peppers) need any extra feeding as most are transplanted long before they are 6 weeks old.  As we are now in the 7th week, I have just started feeding the peppers with a diluted kelp fertilizer.  I think that next year, I should probably start feeding them one week sooner.

Peppers - 7 weeks
 
There were a couple of hiccups with some of the hot pepper varieties where the pre-germinated seeds did not come up once sown. 

Firstly there were the Ostra-Cyklon & Corne de Chevre.  One seedling each came up without any issues.  The 2nd ones seemed to be taking much too long.  I dug around in the soil and found one seed with no growth and there was no sign of the other seed - it had completely disappeared.  Perhaps I sowed several containers at one time and I missed that one by mistake?  So one each of the Ostra-Cyklon & Corne de Chevre had to be started over again; I also threw in a couple more seeds, just in case.  All of the seeds germinated and the seedlings are up and running.

Then there were those pesky Hungarian Hot Wax peppers that I had issues germinating both last year and this year.   I decided to grow 3 each of the Baker Creek (from last year) & William Dam (new this year) seeds to see if there is any difference in the actual plants and/or peppers.  The new batch I purchased from William Dam germinated with absolutely no issues, all 3 seeds that I needed germinating in 5 days vs. the Baker Creek batch which took from 9-20 days.

As of now, all of the William Dam seeds are well on their way (even though they were started 2 weeks later).  Unfortunately, I only have one Baker Creek seedling as 2 of the pre-germinated seeds didn't come up.  Once again I dug around in the soil.  One had a tiny bit of a stem (but no evidence of leaves), the other had no growth at all - another mystery.  It's much to late to start over at this point, so I will be using the extra Ostra-Cyklon peppers as replacements.


Parsley

I'm growing Gigante & Comune 2, both of which are Italian flat-leaf parsley varieties.  I only need 2 plants for my herb bed, plus one that I'm growing for my mom, so the plan was to thin each cell to one seedling.

Parsley - 4 weeks
 
Recently, however, my 9 year old son (who will be splitting a bed this year with his sister to grow whatever he pleases) has also decided that he wants one or two plants, as he is now in love with the chimichurri I made & froze last season.  So I have left a few extra seedlings in the cells.  I'm wondering if I should just leave them (I have often seen tiny cell packs at the nursery with 2 or even 3 parsley plants per cell) or if I should transplant them into individual cells.  My inclination is to leave them, especially as space under the grow lights will be in high demand once the tomatoes are started...is that next week already?


Sweet Potato

I have a few roots on my sweet potato plant & several sprouts as well...yay!

This is what the sprout looked like when I purchased the potato:

Baby Sprout - 5 weeks ago
 
And this is what it looks like today:

Teenage Sprout Today

You can see from the above photo that one of the sprouts is below the water line.  In fact, when I turn the potato over, there are a couple more, right next to the roots:

More Sprouts Growing Right Alongside Roots
 
I'm not sure what the story is with that but since I don't have a whole lot of roots (or sprouts) to start with, I've just left them & kept the water level the same.  I wouldn't want any of my roots dying off.


Flowers

The alyssum & petunias are still small, but coming along.

Alyssum (left) & Petunias (right) - 6 weeks
 


Newly sown

The past couple of weeks have been busy on the sowing front.  I have started eggplant, kohlrabi, basil, upland cress, lemon bee balm & marigolds.  I'll do a post on these new sowings soon.

Now I gotta go - I have some peas soaking in the basement.  Busy, busy, busy...I love this time of year.

Till next time...

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

22 comments:

  1. We must be getting the same weather. We are going to be about 60F or so for the next week. I'm so happy. It was even sunny today as I got out and planted more spinach. It was too window to do any transplanting though. I hope the wind dies down soon.

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    1. It's more the wind than the lower temperatures that's been killing any outdoor work in the last week - we had a couple of really bad days where I was worried that the plastic on the beds may blow right off. Thankfully, the rebar did it's job very well and everything stayed put.

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  2. Yay for warmer weather! I'm sure it will be nice to get some of those plants in the ground. I filled in a few bare spots in the cold frame beds today.

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    1. You can say that again - It's been a long time coming and I'll probably enjoy myself all them more because of that!

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  3. They all look to be coming along well. How lovely that your children have their own bed to grow things, my kids were older when I took on my first allotment plot and though they were interested to begin with, they soon found that other things demanded their attention more than gardening. It's good to get them interested whilst their young and hopefully, it will lead to a life long love of gardening.

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    1. That is exactly what I'm hoping for. I really want my kids to have a love of nature in general, and gardening in particular. I think it is one of the healthiest (and most gratifying) hobbies you can have, for both mind and body.

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  4. Your seedlings are coming along nicely. Having the same germination problem with an Hungarian Paprika pepper. This morning I will be making my first visit to the garden to see what shape it is in. Like you I am anxious to get things in the ground.

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    1. Ugh...Generally I don't like to do extras when I'm starting seeds as I'm just so bad at getting rid of them, but I'm beginning to think that in the case of peppers, that may not be such a bad idea. I hope that you find your peppers are off to a good start this morning.

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  5. Everything looks wonderful, especially those onions! I'm sticking with sets this year, will see how that goes. I've had a terrible time with peppers. Hungarian Hot Wax no problem, but several of my "specialty" peppers haven't germinated at all so very disappointing. I still have plenty of plants but not the varieties I was looking forward to. I hope you end up with enough of what you wanted!!

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    1. I commented on Marks blog that I don't generally sow extras of anything as I'm so bad at getting rid of them when the time comes. But I'm thinking that I may change my ways when it comes to certain problematic germinators - and peppers tops that list!

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  6. I was away for the past week and was hoping to come home to spring, but , ha ha--we know that was not to be. BUT---my indoor seedlings went ballistic in that short time and that was nice to see.
    Keep checking out there---sooner or later there just has to be some sign of spring.
    Have a good week

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    1. It has definitely taken it's time this year...but I think we are FINALLY here. Can you believe that we are supposed to get up to 20C (68F) and 24C (73F) with the humidity today?? Just goes to show how quickly the forecasts change because only 2 days ago, none of the temps for the coming week were over 16C (60F)...which is still pretty darn nice. Only thing is I have to get out there before the rains starts this afternoon.

      I hope that you had a wonderful vacation. I love going away, but nothing beats home sweet home...even if it is chillier. ;)

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  7. Those seedlings look so green and healthy, good to hear the weather is warming up in your region, it's been a long cold winter for you guys.

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    1. Yes it was definitely a VERY cold, VERY long winter this year for us...I guess the one good thing is that it makes me appreciate when spring comes all the more!

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  8. We too are finally getting warmer weather, night time temp still in the 30's though. I may have lost my Swiss chard seedlings, had them out on a blustery day.

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    1. Well, good thing you commented about your chard seedlings as I had put mine outside today on the front porch to harden off and had completely forgotten about them - I just now scooted outside to bring them in. It was a super windy day today and I should have brought them in earlier - thankfully, I think they are fine as the porch is fairly protected.

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  9. Look at all of your cute seedlings! I'm sort of wishing that I had decided to start my asparagus from seed like you, but I did bare roots and am worried they won't be as resilient. Hopefully you'll get some nice spring weather soon! I've felt bad for everyone on the east coast - - while we've been enjoying temperatures in the high 70s.

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    1. Thankfully, spring has finally found us - about time too! I don't think you need to worry about your asparagus unless you see them having problems. From what I have read, most people grow it just fine from purchased crowns; it's just the odd person here and there that has an issue if the crowns were dried out, etc., when they purchased them. We will see how my seedlings go - it's a LONG way from here to a harvest in 3 years and a lot can happen!

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  10. I love the baby asparagus seedlings! Your seedlings are looking good and it's really nice your children are having a go this year, a great idea.
    I'm not very good at hardening off things, sometimes I get lazy and leave them out overnight too soon.

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    1. I have been trying different locations, schedules, etc., to reduce the pain of hardening those seedlings off - like you I get lazy or just completely forget to move them when I should.

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  11. Hi! It is great to start having nice weather! I saw two little asparagus today too! Isn't that exciting to see! What is your secret to getting all that gardening done and still keep up to your housework and kitchen work???? You must be super woman! Nancy

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    1. Hi Nancy! Oh, isn't the good weather wonderful...and probably more appreciated after the long stretch of winter we've had. Oh, I'm no super woman - far from...I often spend much more time than I should planning, sowing, planting. As far as I'm concerned, when there's a bed to tend, those dishes can wait ;)

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