We are definitely in the middle of seed starting season here, and I’m taking care of an ever growing number of little seedlings inside under the fluorescent lights. It’s still too cold out in the greenhouse to start moving most plants, but I did take a flat of lettuce seedlings out there last week. I also decided to take the parsley and kale seedlings out there too, since I need room under the lights down in the basement. The parsley is coming along nicely, and should be ready to plant in a week or two.
Indoors the peppers are all sprouted and I need to thin to one seedling per cell soon. I started these in a 200 cell plug flat but they will need to be transplanted into bigger quarters soon. To maximize space indoors I will likely put them in a 72 cell tray before potting them up the last time into 3.5 inch pots. I used a heating mat to get them sprouted, which took 7 to 10 days for most of the varieties.
The tomatoes are also mostly all up now. I will thin them to one per cell, then transplant to a 50 cell plug tray once the true leaves are showing. The plug trays let me make the most of limited space under my fluorescent lights and on my heating mats. I started a few extra early tomatoes (Red Racer, Jasper, Valentine) back on 2/23, and I have potted them on to3.5 inch pots already. My goal with these early ones is to get a big, healthy root system on short stocky plants. I will pot them up one more time into 6 inch pots. Replanting the tomatoes also lets me set them deep in the pot in case they do get leggy, where roots will form along the buried stem.
I also started a few early eggplants for growing in containers back on 2/10. I’ve had great luck with Patio Baby and Fairy Tale, two AAS Winners that thrive for me in large containers. These heat loving plants get off to a quick start for me once the weather starts to warm up here in early spring. Both are also favorites here in the kitchen.
The Wave petunias I started back on 2/22 are ready to be pricked out and potted up into individual pots. Even though they are still small, I generally take them straight to a 3.5 inch pot where they will quickly take off. I like the 3.5 inch square pots because you can fit 18 to a flat with no wasted space. One flat will be more than enough for our needs, but I will pot up a few more to share with others.
Also last week I sowed seeds for eggplant and basil, and they are just now sprouting. Next up in my seed starting will be more lettuce, plus the cucumbers I will grow in in the greenhouse. Then it will be time for the summer and winter squashes. For more information see my Seed Starting and Planting Schedule which works well for me here in my zone 6B garden. I’ll be back soon with more happenings from Happy Acres!