It is seed starting season around here for sure, and it has been keeping me busy lately. This week on 2/19 I started the spring brassicas in two 72-cell plug flats (broccoli, cabbage, kale and kohlrabi), and they are all coming up nicely. I sowed two seeds per cell, and I will thin to one plant per cell in a couple of days. If seeds are in short supply I sometimes sow one seed per cell, but then I can always count on having empty cells since germination is never 100%. I plan to leave the plants in the plug flat until planting time, unless it gets delayed. If that happens I will have to pot them up again, but hopefully that will not be necessary.
The greens I started last week (mizspoona, arugula, pac choi and lettuce) are up and I have already thinned them down to one plant per cell. I’ll leave them inside under lights for about another week, then either take them out to the greenhouse or into a cold frame to harden them off before planting. Since the greenhouse is currently home to an army of aphids, I may choose the cold frame for that reason alone. I’ll also start a bit more lettuce here in a week or so.
I also transplanted the parsley, fennel and catnip seedlings into individual cells in a 72-cell plug tray. I have more plants than I need, but I think it’s always good to have a few extras, as long as I have room to hold them. I’ll pot these up into individual 3.5″ pots in a couple of weeks and I’ll cull the numbers down then, since they will take up more space at that point.
The petunias I started back on 2/12 are up, and I plan to transplant them into a plug flat soon. I got good germination on them this year, averaging around 90%, unlike last year when the results were terrible. I got my seeds from a different source this year (Stokes). They also came up quickly, and some are already showing their first true leaves, though they are tiny at this point! We plant the petunias in containers to provide a little color around the gardens, and also because they are attractive to butterflies and hummingbirds. That’s Tidal Wave Hot Pink in the below photo. I also have red ones started, which are usually a magnet for the hummers.
Next up in the seed starting schedule will be peppers, followed by tomatoes and eggplants. They will all go on a heating mat to aid germination. I already started a few cherry tomatoes (Sun Gold, Supersweet 100, Champagne and Mexico Midget) to set out early, but most will get started in a plug flat sometime in early March. You can find my general timeline in my Seed Starting and Planting Schedule. I hope you have enjoyed this update, and I’ll be back soon with more happenings!
I didn’t know that petunias are attractive to butterflies and hummers. It’s been many years since I’ve grown any. Every year I intend to grow more flowers but I just don’t get around to it and it probably won’t happen this year either. I don’t think I’ll get around to starting a lot of spring veggies either, so it’s going to be slim pickings around here for a while. I just hope it dries out in time to plant the summer garden.
The hummingbirds seem to especially like the red petunias. A lot of times I will find little holes in the blooms where they have been getting nectar from them. And the swallowtails like them too, at least the ones here do.
Lots of action under the grow lights I see! Mine are seeing a bit of activity but not as much as they should – I’ve sown the onions and am pre-germinating the peppers but that’s about all that’s happening so far. No petunias this year but a gazillion varieties of zinnia (or so it seems!) – just couldn’t help myself!
When do you start Brussels Sprouts? It sounds like it should be soon, if the time hasn’t already passed.
I’m not growing b-sprouts this year. Like you say, I am thinking it would be time to start them ASAP if I were.
Inspiring, as always, Dave. I, on the other hand, have yet to start a single seed…