Today, I ran into Molbak's in Woodinville to grab some Fish Bone Meal and, of course, I get sidetracked and walk out with more than I intended, and way less than I wanted. . .but I did walk out with the bone meal, another seed tray and the seed catalog that I've been waiting over a month for (and still did not receive). I also picked up a few more seeds while I was out earlier in the day, so my plan for the day was set.
I had picked up some Colombines, Nasturtiums and Hollycocks for my own pleasure and placed the colombines in the fridge and I'll plant those in a week. The Nasturtiums I plan on starting in the next round of seed starts, most likely within the next couple of weeks, depending on space.
I mixed up my standard soil mix for seeds (a combo of aged steer manure, potting soil and perlite), filled up the cells and got out my seeds for the tray.
In the seed tray I planted the following:
1. Hollycock - (1 seed per cell x 18 cells) planted 1/8" deep 2. Echinacea Purpurea - (2 seeds per cell x 9 cells) planted 1/8" deep 3. Red Kale - (3 seeds per cell x 3 cells) planted 1/8" deep 4. Black Beauty Zucchini - (1 seed per cell x 3 cells) planted 3/4" deep 5. Yellow Squash - (1 seed per cell x 3 cells) planted 3/4" deep
I'm keeping this tray on the window sill in the dining room which receives about 6 hours of direct sunlight and indirect sunlight all day long, so there should be plenty of sunshine for these seeds and hopefully the kale in this tray won't take as long as the kale I've got in the re-purposed water bottles in the garage. If they do germinate faster, I will most likely be moving all the plants I can out of the garage. . .we do have an empty guest room I could take over till the weather warms. . .
Two days ago, I picked up some potatoes (purple, honey gold, ruby fingerlings and a white flesh Japanese sweet potato) and am chitting those by placing them in indirect light in a relatively warm room (in my case, the dining room under a plant stand) until they start to sprout.
Chitting is a method of preparing potatoes or other tubers for planting. The seed potatoes are placed in a tray (often in egg cartons)
in a light and cool place with a little water. All but one of the
"eyes" (sprouting parts) of the potato are removed, leaving the
strongest growth only. Once the sprouts are about 1 inch (2.5 cm) long,
the seed potatoes are planted in the ground.
Sprout Update - 7 February 2011 Round 1: Day 24 Round 2: Day 19
The Green Zebra sprout is doing pretty good. No new sprouts for any of the tomatoes, though. I think I am going to make some foil lined cardboard boxes to keep like 4 of the Jiffy Pots in to help retain some heat and moisture for those and see if that helps. If there's nothing new in the next couple of weeks, I'll scrap those and try again. . .
No new lemon cucumbers, but I have noticed that the one closest to the heat lamp (but second to sprout) grew and opened two true leaves to the first one's one true leaf. The third has seed leaves that look slightly misshapen, so we'll see what happens with that one.
No real change with the broccoli. The second one STILL hasn't popped up above the soil line yet. Kinda weird, I think. But it's the first time growing broccoli so we'll see what happens.
I think I'm slowly weeding out the weaklings in the pea section. So far, three have turned a little brown and started to wither. They didn't grow very fast (as compared to the others), either. So I think I'm okay with it. If the healthy looking ones start to turn, then I'll start to worry.
The mallow is looking a little thirsty, so I think I might have killed them. They get water at least every 4 hours when the lights are on so I'm not sure what the problem is with that. I'll make it a point to soak them a little more than the rest adn see if that helps.
The rosemary is still pretty much the same. No significant change there.
One of the kale bottle is showing some signs of life. I think a seedling is about to pop up. It's in the bottle that is most exposed to the heat light, so that's probably why. . .
And last but not least, the garlic chives are slowly worming their way up. . .much like the Tokyo Green Onions did. . .
31 January 2011 - Day 17 (Round 1) and Day 12 (Round 2)
Back from Montana and a few more things popped up while I was away. . .
Upstairs, the cilantro finally decided to make an appearance (not just in that one corner) and one of the Tokyo Green Onions stood upright.
The Detroit Red Beets and the Golden Beets have finally showed up. There are 6 sprouts (in 4 different cells) for the Detroit Red and 3 sprouts (in 3 different cells) for the Golden. Seed leaves are open on all the sprouts.
Nothing else is showing signs of life in the seed tray upstairs.
I finally got a tomato plant! The Green Zebra decided to come up. . .I thought it was a Sun Gold at first, but am damn glad I marked the jiffy pots! I sure would have been in for a surprise, expecting little orange tomatoes and get bright green bigger ones instead. But no more tomatoes, or peppers have decided to come up. My guess is they want a fashionably late entrance.
No new sprouts for the cucmbers, but the three that have already sprouted have opened their seed leaves and two of the have started budding their true leaves. . .once the true leaves open, I'm going to give them a little watered down liquid fish fertilizer snack. . .and if no others sprout by that time, I'll wait a couple of weeks and plant some more cucumbers so we have plenty this season.
So one broccoli has opened and one is still in the soil. Not sure what's taking that one so long - the other seemed to just spring up and this one looks a little lazy to me. Been laying in the dirt since before I left for Montana.
The Edible Pod Peas have still only sprouted 2, but both are looking very healthy. Hopefully more of those will pop up soon, but if not I'm planning a succession crop of all the peas in another 3 1/2 weeks or so. . .
The Homesteader Peas are all up, but one of the sprouts looks a little brownish yellow, so I don't think that one'll make it and if it does, it may not last very long. All the others look healthy so far, however.
The Dwarf Grey Sugar Peas are doing the best of the peas, by far. All 6 are up and healthy. I'm thinking about starting a growth chart for all the peas just to see how fast the different varieties grow and all that. . .more work, but would be fun to see the change.
The second Mallow pot finally sprouted. Only one so far, but those seed leaves have already opened up. The first pot is doing very well, too.
The Rosemary has emerged and opened their seed leaves. No signs of life in the second pot yet, but maybe soon?
There is some life in the Garlic Chives, but nothing upright yet. Those look like they should go upright in a few days.
The Chinese Lanterns I've got downstairs have more than a couple random sprouts popping up. It'll be interesting to see what they turn into.
And I think I need to grab another grow light and set up another station for the plants. Totally running out of room for the seedlings downstairs and I have only 1 shelf left upstairs. . .
I got my set up all work out in the garage. . .I took one 8' table and set that up with two saw horses on either end and foil lined a styrofoam fish ice chest to insulate and put that in between the saw horses. I also mounted a 24" grow light (thank you, WalMart, for your wonderful deals) onto a 2"x4"x40" board and set that on the lower part of the saw horses. Since our garage is still cold, and our weather hasn't decided whether it's still Winter or maybe an early Spring, I also got a heat bulb that kicks out a little bit of light, but will hopefully keep the tomatoes, cucumbers, and peppers happy till the weather evens out.
Seeds I sowed today:
1. Echinacea Purpurea (Purple Coneflower)
These seeds I stratified. . .sowed them 1/4" deep across a tofu container with my standard potting mix (2 parts potting soil, 2 parts aged steer manure, 1 part perlite) and covered with plastic wrap and some duct tape to seal, then stuck in the freezer in a corner. From what I've read, it's supposed to be for a month or more, but I figured a week would be fine to try and if it fails, just direct sow them into the ground come March or April. No harm no foul. . .but if it works, it's all good. ;o)
2. Cayenne Pepper
I sowed these into Jiffy pots (the 3" ones to start) with 6 seeds per pot with my standard mix. I then placed the jiffy pots into clean yogurt containers for additional insulation and wrapped in plastic wrap. These were also placed closest to the heat lamp since everything I've read has said that these will germinate when the soil temp is around 80 - 85 degrees F. The packet said that they will germinate in 10-25 days. . .and since today is day 10 with no signs of life, I'm inclined to think it's more like 25 days in my garage micro-climate.
3. Sun gold tomatoes
These guys were sowed into the 3" Jiffy pots as well (2 seeds per pot, 4 pots) - I remember doing them in the cell packs and failing miserably since they don't like their roots disturbed. Since tomatoes are such warm weather plants, I've placed the tomatoes next to the cayenne peppers (just for their proximity to the heat). Their packet says they should germinate in 5-10 days. . .not so much. Working on day 10 with abo#@!$ely no signs of life.
4. Green Zebra tomatoes
Sowed these guys EXACTLY the same way I did the Sun golds. . .just on the other side of the peppers. Same germination days, same result as the sun golds (so far). . .
5. Lincoln Homesteader Peas 6. Sugar Sprint Edible Pod Brush Peas 7. Dwarf Grey Sugar Peas
The peas were sowed into the cell packs, 1 seed per cell sowed 1" deep in standard mix. 6 cells per pea type. I also left the plastic cover off the tray and placed the peas as far away from the heat lamp as possible so they stay relatively cool. As of this afternoon, I have 2 sprouts (seed leaves and all) from each of the peas. . .even though they're from 2006, hopefully they are as viable as the were last year (100%).
8. Large American Flag Leeks
Sowed the leeks 1/8" deep in standard mix in cell packs (1 seed per cell, 6 cells). Their packet says I should see some little sproutlets show up within 6-16 days. . .nothing yet, but I'm hoping for the best. This is the first year I've grown leeks. . .
9. Lemon Cucumbers
I sowed these in the cell packs as well. . .1/2" deep in standard mix (1 seed per cell, 6 cells). These were placed in the seed tray on the side that was closest to the heat lamp. The packet says should sprout in 5-10 days and 1 showed up this morning! The seed leaves haven't opened yet, but at least it popped up. . .hopefully the others will soon follow suit.
The last ones to go in the garage seed tray. . .I sowed these in the cell packs, 1/4" deep in standard mix. 1 seed per cell, in 6 cells. I picked these seeds up from Central Market in their bulk section (who knew they had seeds for sprouting in the bulk section?!?) so I'm not sure what variety they are, but I figured I'd give them a try this year. . .and if they don't work, then another year of store bought broccoli won't kill us. . .
I've always bought the starts for these in any place I've lived, so starting rosemary from seed is totally new to me. I sowed them 1/4" deep in the 3" Jiffy pots (4 seeds per pot) in the standard mix. These should start in 10-20 days. . .no signs of life yet, but I am pretty optimistic about it. ;o)
I've never been too into growing and caring for flowers (what's the point? You can't eat them. . .or at least most of them), but I do like to look at them. And since I've got all this time on my hands, I figured "why the hell not?" and sowed some. I sowed these into the 3" Jiffy pots (2 pots, 4 seeds per pot) 1/8" deep in standard mix. . .their packet said they should start to sprout in 20-30 days, but I've got 2 cute little sproutlets coming up in 1 pot! And the first one came up two days ago. . .not bad for 20-30 days. . .now if only I could work the same magic with my tomatoes. . .
13. Green Onions (Tokyo Long White)
Before I realized just how big these guys are, I sowed them in a rectangular container with the cilantro (we eat a lot of salsa at my house) 1/4" deep in standard mix. The brown container has been sitting on my kitchen shelf with no plastic covering. The packet said they should sprout in 6-16 days and I've seen signs of life on the green onion side, but no seed leaves yet. Once these guys get big enough, I need to go in and pot them up into containers if the weather doesn't straighten out by the time these guys are ready to move. . .
Because we eat so much of it, and I always end up wasting so much of a bunch, I'm growing this stuff in the kitchen. In the other half of the brown container (see Green Onions, above), I sowed these seeds 1/2" deep in standard mix, aiming for about 1/2" around all the seeds. Not sure how long it takes them to sprout up out of the dirt, but after 10 days, there are no signs of life on that side. . .