Thursday, February 17, 2011

First Signs of Life

pre sprouting artichoke seeds
Apologies - these photos are about a week old. I should have gotten around to posting about them earlier. I've found that the best and sure fire way to start artichokes is by soaking the seeds overnight and then pre-sprouting them in a damp paper towel. Doing this saves a lot of time and aggravation in the long run.

The scallion seeds I purchased last year have remained viable. Thank goodness for small miracles.

lettuce and spinach
The Regiment spinach is starting out bit spotty (any suggestion?) while the Winter Density lettuce needs to be thinned.

Also, I started most of my spring greens tonight and am hopeful (considering the wave of warmer we've experienced this week) that they will be ready to be transplanted into the hoop house by mid-March.


  1. Hi Thomas, my spinach from last year is not germinating; perhaps I lack patience. ;) But we have kale, broccoli, basil, cilantro, carrots, cabbage, mesclun... all coming up and doing well, 1st and some with 2nd true leaves. Love the recipe and will definitely try it. Thank you.

    PS: it is difficult to post so much when we are so busy starting seeds!

  2. I started my artichoke seeds just by sowing them and only 3 out of 10 germinated, and it took them 12 days. I have some more seeds and I will try your method.
    Do you think that your last years artichokes will not survive the winter?

  3. I have been having an awful time with my spinach too. I have tried everything and so I started over two days ago.

  4. I always start my spinach the way you did your artichokes. I use the paper towel for two days then plant. I get much better germination that way. Spinach seed also doesn't keep well. If it wasn't bought this year, you should always do a germination test.

    I'm really happy for the warm up. Our street is finally melting out. Plus it give us room for the next snowstorm. Luckily they are only predicting 2-4".

  5. I've had trouble with spinach and will try this tip. My lettuce and onion seeds are doing great. I'm excited about this early spring weather we have been having. I plan to move outside under a low tunnel hoop this weekend and make room for more starts inside. Do you use a fertilizer when you water your seeds or when you transplant them?

  6. I am amazed that all 6 of my leftover artichoke seeds sprouted this year - now I think I need to grow them up outside pronto this time - last year I kept them warm for far too long and none made it!

  7. Vrtlarica - I would be shocked if any of my artichokes from last year survived, except for maybe the one in the hoop house, I didn't do a good of protecting them for the winter.

    Ken - I personally don't use a liquid fertilizer on my indoor seedlings because the soil block mix is meant to supply them will all of the nutrients they will need until transplant date. I'm sure a seaweed emulsion would benefit them too though.

  8. The winter density lettuce is great stuff. You can't kill it. I keep thinking I'll start artichokes, but never get around to it.

  9. I'm starting spinach w/o problems from an envelope of Fedco's Space spinach dated 9/08 (that must have been the collection date and I bought in in early 09.) I keep my seeds a bit haphazardly. The first year they were in a dark cabinet in the kitchen, the following year I put them in zip bags in the the fridge, though without a moisture absorber.
    I will say, a bit hesitantly, that I've been observing the moon phase planting instructions last month and this, just for the heck of it. Don't know if that's helped germination or what. (Countryside Magazine has a farmer's almanac that gives specific dates for planting by the moon's phase, or you can always google.)
    That said, carrots planted in Jan were not doing anything when I dumped the tray of soil (argh) and had to start over. Feb. carrot seeds are shocking me with how quickly they are growing. Eh. Who knows.

  10. How long do your seeds usually keep?
    I'd love to try artichoke, do you think they'd do well in a large pot?

  11. Artichokes! Darn it! I was going to add that to my list of seeds to start for 2011 and then managed to forget them. Shoot!

    Your little seedlings look great. I always have some misses on germination which is why I always plant more than what I need - such that the losses from poor germination or subsequent seedling death (it happens) does not leave me with too few plants for my needs. I had one batch of lettuces that took off right away and another group that has had pretty poor germination - both fresh seed - just different varieties.

  12. Wasn't the warm up nice, almost all our snow melted. If it only lasted a bit longer... Good luck with all your planting!

  13. Thanks for the tip on artichoke germination! I only get a few germinate from a bunch of seeds. I'll give your method a go. They are the most gorgeous flower once they're on their way to going to seed aren't they! A really gorgeous addition to a vegie plot.

  14. How is the hoop house doing, can u send a recent pic? Do you have any heat out there, and what is the average daily temp. I love your design and am really thinking about building one. Thanks for the inspiration!!