Since it’s getting to be that time of the year, I thought it was time for an update on my recent seed starting activities. In late January I started seeds for lettuce, arugula, kale and mizuna. These all went in two 128 cell plug flats. On February 1st I started seeds for more greens, including pac choi, tatsoi, mizuna and other mild mustard greens including Vivid Choi and Mizspoona. These went into a 72 cell plug flat. Those seeds have now germinated, and are growing under my fluorescent light setup in our basement. And on 2/4 I started seeds for parsley, bronze fennel and catnip. All those went into 3.5″ plastic pots, one for each variety, and have not yet come up.
Regular readers may know I am a big fan of using plug flats. They come with different cell sizes but overall are about the size of a standard 1020 nursery tray. I use either the 128 cell or 72 cell flat for salad greens, herbs, and brassicas. The 72 cell flat gives the plants a bit more room for the roots, and I generally use it for my cabbage, broccoli and kale seedlings. For a potting mix, lately I have been using Pro-Mix All Purpose Mix or Pro-Mix Organic Seed Starting Mix. I prefer to use a seed starting mix without added fertilizer so I can add my own as needed, but it is getting hard to find any locally that doesn’t have some sort of fertilizer or other dodgy ingredients added. Regardless, I will use a weak fish and seaweed fertilizer once the seedlings are a couple of weeks old, and my current favorite is Neptune’s Harvest. I’m not trying to plug all these products, but I know people are sometimes curious about what I use and I’ve been using these specific ones for years with good results.
The kale I started in the 128 cell flat will probably wind up in a bigger flat or individual pots since I want the plants to get some size before planting. I also want to wait for the weather to warm up, which means it will be March when I set them out. Since I started parsley seeds in 3.5 inch pots rather than individual cells, I will need to prick them out and pot them up into individual containers once they start showing their true leaves. I find if I am careful and don’t disturb the roots too much they don’t seem to mind. The same goes with the fennel and catnip. I will start some Florence fennel a bit later. It usually does better for me here with a fall planting, but I’m going to give it a go here this spring as well. I will put one parsley plant in its own 3.5″ pot, where they will stay until planting time.
Next up in my seed starting activities will be several colors of Wave petunias. The petunia seed will also go into 3.5″ pots, covered with plastic film like I did for the parsley. Since petunia seeds need warmth to germinate, I will put the pots on a heating mat. You can read more about starting petunias in a 2010 post I made: Do the Wave. Next I will start a few more greens for the greenhouse and cold frame, plus some extra early tomato plants. Closer to the end of the February I will start the spring planted brassicas, followed by another planting of the spring greens like lettuce, mustard and choi. I’ll start warm season crops like peppers, tomatoes and eggplant beginning 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!