Monday, March 1, 2010

This Week's Seed Starting Update

mizuna and shanghai bok choy
Mizuna and Shanghai Bok Choy - I'm really amazed by how quickly these greens have grown. They are definitely overcrowded at the moment. I will transplant them undercover this weekend, that is if the weather will cooperate. Since temperatures rarely get below 30 degrees inside my hoop house these days, I think these hardy greens will survive just fine. I have to remind myself to harden them off this week.

chamomile and sage
(From bottom) Sage, Chamomile and Lavender - The sage and chamomile are doing very well. I know I should thin them but I'm hoping that I will be able to split them as they get large enough to handle. The lavender has germinated VERY poorly. I think I will end up buying transplants later this spring.

thyme and oregano
(From left) Ground Cherry, thyme and oregano - All are doing well. Thyme is definitely one of my favorite herbs. I hope never to run out of it this summer and fall. Also, I think I've sown enough ground cherries to have my own booth at the farmer's market. If you've never tried this mildly tropical tasting fruit, you're certainly missing out!

onions and leeks
Leeks and (more) Onions - I've decided that I will not be starting onions using soil blocks next year as I did this year. Instead, I will use flats. I think less than 50% of my onions germinated and soil blocks take up more precious shelf space. My leeks on the other hand are germinating very well. As these leeks and onions grow and become easier to handle, I will divide the clumps into individual cell trays.

chilies and tomatoes
Chilies, Peppers and Tomatoes - About a week ago, I started all of my chilies and peppers that I will be growing this year, as well as some early tomatoes. All of these warm weather plants have germinated very well on top of a heating mat except for the Poblano/Ancho chili (which are taking a bit longer) and eggplant (which seems lifeless at the moment). Some of these blocks have 2 to 3 seedlings. I can't decide whether to trim them down to 1 using scissors or try to divide them into separate cells. I just hate to waste certain seedlings...what do you think?

Finally, the Roselle is starting to get tinged with a bit of burgundy coloring. I don't know that much about this plant, but I have a feeling that it may end up being very striking.


  1. Thomas - you have alot of tiny plants growing right now! Oh, I know you enjoy it, because it's so much fun.I think your first time growing transplants is successful.

  2. All those seedlings look great! I find onions are really weird germinators, some times they germinate great and other times very poorly. Strange creatures! You have done well having so many chilies come up in a week. They can take up to three weeks.

  3. All of them look wonderful!
    Onions are strange in germination. I sowed seed from same packet in two pots, in one none germinated, in other almost all did.

    And I understand what you think regarding wasting seedlings... I have sowed double the volume of tomato seeds than I have space in garden for them... I just hope that I will be able to give the rest to somebody. But you have to sow more as you never know what might happen and what will be germination rate.

  4. They all look so cute right now. I'm eagerly awaiting my lettuce which should pop up soon.

    The weather should be pretty good for us after Wednesday's little snow shower. I'm thinking about getting plastic on some of my beds to start the soil warming up.

  5. Things are looking great Thomas.
    Lavender is a bugger - I have poor success germinating it. I've always like onion sets the best just because they are easier! But, I've had luck with seed or sets.
    I'm jealous you can start playing in your garden - I'm still under snow...

  6. Thomas,

    Your seedlings look so great. I love watching your garden grow. I can't wait to transplant my seedlings outside and start more in cold frames. My bok choy isn't growing as well as yours looks. Do you fertilize the seedlings yet or let them feed from the nutrients in the seed starting soil?

  7. Hi Ken, I haven't fed my bol Chou yet although I will feed it with some diluted seaweed emulsion. However, my soil block mix has a ton of organic fertilizer. Other than that, I just let it grow!

  8. I'm with you on the lack of space. They'll all be going outside soon, so that I have more room for the warmer weather crops.

  9. I use scissors to trim away the weaker/excess plants in each cell. Trying to separate them usually ends up with all the plants getting some damage to them. In my opinion, it is better to just sacrifice the extras and ensure the remaining plant is left undisturbed to grow on stronger than ever.

    All of your little herb plants are just charming looking! Such interesting leaf textures.

  10. The Mizuna are out of control, aren't they? I have them too, and was going to transplant them into a pot on the deck today, but alas, another Nor'easter is due in tonight so may have to wait a few days. Don't beat yourself up about the lavender, they are a pain. Congrats on your leeks, mine were all dud old seed and I won't buy more seed until fall so I only have a few wintering over in my beds from last fall. I received some ground cherry shared seed this year that appears to be germinating well, I have never tasted them before, so now I am really looking forward to it. Things look fabulous.

  11. Nice cute seedlings, I just pinch off the weaker ones with my fingers.

    I'm planning to divide the lavender this week, let me know when you're ready for the roots.

  12. What beautiful little seedlings. I understand how you would hate to kill a single one, but the strongest one will grow better if you eliminate the others in the pot by snipping or pinching it off. That's good advice, but I usually try to save them all. Can't help myself.

    I mentioned you in my blog post today. Your garden is such an inspiration to me, I just can't tell you. I'm so happy to visit your garden blog and watch what you grow and how you cook it.

  13. Try germinating your lavender seeds between moist coffee filters which are placed inside a ziploc bag. It worked for me.

    Google it.

  14. Thanks for commenting everyone!

    Winnie (mac) - you're too good to me! I'm ready, I'm ready!

    Lou - good to hear from you and thanks for the kind words! I find that reading other gardeners' experiences helps to keep me motivated. I find inspiration in what you all do as well!

    Dome - I was considering doing that. Thanks for the tip!

  15. Your seedlings look gorgeous. I'm still living in an apartment so planting seedlings is complicated due to space considerations, but it doesn't stop me from scheming . . .or lurking around your website and enjoying your garden.

  16. Wow, the seedlings are just beautiful all tucked in their nice little rows and blocks. They look so healthy!

  17. I never get tired of seeing seedlings! It just delights me to see new growth. They all look really healthy. Congratulations!

  18. Hey did you trim your onions and leeks?? Just wondering. I sowed my first seeds, onions, this week. Getting thinking about the next batch.

  19. Beautiful, Thomas! It makes me even more anxious to get planting. Not until March 15th for me :-(

  20. Hi Karen, yes I trimmed my onions and leeks. They are doing much better now in my opinion.

  21. Thomas, your seedlings are looking so beautiful. I know what you mean about onions in soilblocks taking up so much space. I may do something different next year too. Live and learn.

    Such interesting things you are growing. You are a very inspiring gardner and blogger. When I read your blog, I am almost always tempted to branch out and try new things in my garden.