Yesterday I did another round of seed starting, this time with tomatoes. Since I’m growing quite a few different varieties, I chose a 128 cell plug flat to start them in. Once they get a set of true leaves, I will pot them on into individual 3.5 inch pots. I already started a few plants of Spike and Maglia Rosa back in February and potted them up that way back on March 5th. They are growing nicely, and almost ready to move to the greenhouse to harden them off. I’m going to try growing one each of these in containers in the greenhouse, and also in the ground in the main garden area. These are both Artisan Seeds small-fruited varieties with short, semi-determinate vines that are supposed to be good in containers. I’m trying to get a jump on the season and give us a taste of early tomatoes. I will likely move the containers outside once the danger of frost is past.
I also potted up the parsley I started back in February, which had been growing in 6-packs (aka 806 inserts). The varieties I’m growing this year are Giant of Italy, Forest Green, Splendid and Georgian Flatleaf. Forest Green is a curly leaf variety and all the rest are flat leaf types. I picked the best three from each variety and potted them up in 3.5 inch pots. That’s more parsley than I need, but I sometimes tuck a few extras around the flower beds to give the caterpillars something to munch on. I’ll plant most of these in the greenhouse, once the overwintered plants start bolting. Last year that was in early May, though so far things are running a bit earlier this year.
In the greenhouse, I’ve got a lot of brassicas growing on and hardening off. I’m hoping to get them into the ground by the first of April, if the weather cooperates. The ground is a little wet right now, and we have a chance of frost forecast for the end of the week, so I’m not in a rush to get them planted. That’s Kolibri kohlrabi in the below photo. All the brassicas are now in 72 cell plug flats, where they will stay until planting time.
The peppers I started last week in a 200 cell plug flat are coming up now. I generally sow two seeds per cell, unless the seeds are in short supply, then thin to one after they germinate. I’ll leave them on the heating mat for a bit longer to give them every chance to emerge. Overall I’m happy with how they are doing, and only one variety (Cayennetta) has failed to come up. I forgot to re-order Cayennetta this year, and only had two seeds from 2013 which have not yet come up after 10 days. Oh well, I will have plenty of hot peppers regardless, and I do have another cayenne type (Maule’s Red Hot) growing. My tastes tend to be pretty wimpy when it comes to hot peppers anyway!
There’s no sign of peas coming up yet in the main garden, but with warm temps here the last couple of days I expect to see them up any time now. I do hope the garden starts drying out as my onion plants should be here this week and I would like to get them in the ground ASAP.
You have been busy and will be busier still come potting on time
Yes, the potting on is always a big event here. And then keeping everything watered takes a fair amount of time as well.
You have been busy! I love this time of year, sowing seeds and watching things grow, it’s a little miracle with every seed that germinates.
It’s been especially fun watching the peppers coming up. I’ve been checking on them a couple of times each day when I water and cheering them on!
That’s great germination on the peppers – I have had lots of varieties that have taken much longer then 10 days to come up. When I see a seedling like that Maglia Rose, it tells me that summer is just around the corner…but my seedlings won’t be that size until late April!
You have great labels (unlike me!) but don’t you find they prevent you from getting the seedlings closer to the light?
No surprise you might get a touch of frost … we are about to go into another freeze with double-digit (Celsius) below zero for 3-4 nights.
Nice to see all of your seedlings. I’m starting to get some kale and kohlrabi to sprout but peppers and tomatoes are a few weeks away. Our weather has been nice but it is supposed to maybe snow on Sunday so winter is not totally banished here.
I have been doing much the same. My chilli seeds are in little pots, in the airing-cupboard, which doubles as a propagator at this time of year. I check them twice daily to see if any have come up. So far it’s mostly the c. annuum types that have germinated. Hopefully the others will follow in due course though.
I have a gardening question for my trustworthy gardening advisor. Do you mulch your gardening lot with leave mulches in the Fall? If you do, do you remove them before you plant your seedlings? I mulched the shredded leaves last Fall in my raised bed. I have heard that I should not till to preserve the soil structure and the live organisms beneath. But without tilling in the leaves, it is quite messy to plant the seedlings. The leaves have not composted yet. What are your recommendations? Thank you.
Hi Echo. I don’t mulch our garden with leaves. We don’t really have enough for that anyway. I do put any leaves I rake up on the compost pile. They do take a long time to break down, which is another reason I don’t put them on the garden. They are great when composted.
I know there are many proponents of not tilling, but I do lightly till or fork over most of my garden in spring to work in compost and fertilizer. If you don’t want to till or turn the soil with a fork, you could rake them back before planting and then use as mulch around the plants. That’s the only choices I can think of.
When I volunteered as a Master Gardener, we used leaves as mulch on our veggie garden, applying them after planting. We kept them bagged over the winter.
David, thank you for the suggestion. I will push away the leaves when I plant the seedlings and cover the soil when the seedlings are a little older. Happy Birthday!