Tag Archives: seedlings

Checking on the Seedlings

Why didn’t I buy grow lights before?? My seedlings have always been “fine”, but after seeing my mom’s lush healthy seedlings under her grow lights, and with a little nudge from my husband I decided to take the plunge. I am so glad I did!

I bought two 2 ft Hydrofarm T5 Grow Light Systems.

I decided against the single 4 ft light so I would have more flexibility. They came safely packed and were easy to assemble. I did have a little trouble with placement since my table is a 4 ft one and each lamp is actually 26 inches. Got it figured out with the help of a tray table.

I started the peppers back in March and then planted the rest of the seeds at the right time based on my last frost date.

I usually add a couple of weeks to the last frost date to be on the safe side, so I’m aiming to plant the week after Mother’s Day. I keep track of what I’m doing on these handy Botanical Interests Month-to Month planner sheets.

I’m growing Cosmos and Marigolds in my APS system trays, and this year all my vegetables in Botanical Interests small 1 1/2 in Recycled Paper pots and larger 3 inch Recycled Paper Pots.

I’ve always ended up with root bound squash and cucumbers in the smaller APS trays and they are really tenuous when transplanting, so I decided to grow them in the 3 inch pots this year. As a bonus, using these Botanical Interests Paper Pots they can go right into the ground when ready–just tear off the bottom strip and all set to go. The paper will just decompose and the roots aren’t disturbed when transplanting.

So far I’m really happy with the BI paper pots.  Plants have grown great and watering has been easy, even when I’ve been gone on vacations. I was a little worried about that, since I had always used self watering plant trays.

What I ended up doing while I was away was to place the paper pots in a baking pan and fill the tray up with water. The plants just soaked up what they needed. I did figure out I needed to fill the tray the day before, and again right before leaving since the soil soaked up so much water right away. That has seemed to work well for 4-5 day trips. I don’t keep them this damp too long so I don’t encourage mold/fungus to grow that could damage the seedlings. (What’s my favorite indoor watering can? The Oxo 3 liter Indoor Pour and Store)

The squash is healthier than I’ve ever grown!

Marigolds!

Cosmos!

Sunflowers are about 8 inches tall!

The kohlrabi, basil and coleus is getting there and maybe should have been started earlier.  This was a couple of weeks ago and they’ve since been thinned to one plant per pot. Best to thin by cutting the unwanted plants rather than pulling them out. Pulling one can pull them all out.

Can you tell the difference between the purple and white kohlrabi?

Can’t wait for the weather to get warm enough to think about planting. We keep having frost warnings so this year things are going to be a little delayed. In the meantime, this weekend I’ll put up the mini greenhouse and begin transitioning them to the outdoors (also known as hardening off). Seedlings have to be gently introduced to the outdoors or it’ll be too much of a shock for them.

How’s your seed growing going?  Has it been a tough year for you?

 

Zucchini and Squash Mid-summer

My zucchini and squash plants are growing like gangbusters!  I was a little worried when I transplanted them as seedlings,  because they had grown into tangled messes in the growing pots.  I was as gentle as I could be, but a couple almost broke in half because the stems were so fragile.  I ended up planting all of them, despite what they looked like, just hoping they’d grow.   The ones that seemed barely connected by threads of stems, I laid carefully in the dirt and covered up the damaged spots.  Luckily, the weather cooperated and the little plants were actually able to become established.  Never toss a plant that you think is too far gone to plant, nature has a way of making these things survive

I have them in the garden growing in front of, and on the Cucumber trellises that I got from Gardeners Supply Company.   These were great purchases for me since I could lean them against the house and expand my garden space.  Squash and zucchini plants aren’t really climbers, but they will prop themselves up a little bit and save some space by spreading up, rather than just out.

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I  have already harvested 1 summer squash and see at least 2 little zucchinis growing.  Lots of flowers still blooming meaning lots more vegetables to come. Something I’ve learned is that it’s important when reaching around in the plant to be gentle, the new little squashes can be knocked off easily and some of the plants dislodged entirely.  Also, don’t wait too long to harvest the summer squashes especially, they can get very seedy and tough.  Best to pick early and they will be far more tender.

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Beginning to Look Like a Jungle

I finally got my basil seeds to start indoors.   I kept forgetting to by them at the store.  I  planted them in the seed trays on April 11, so I should be fine for transplanting in May.  The other seedlings are growing like gangbusters.  Just need to remember to keep them watered and turned.  When the water starts to get too low, the first to go will be the corner squares.  In the picture, you can see a pepper plant looking a little weak, signs that I let the water get a little too low.  You can also see that I need to turn the plants, they are growing all over each other towards the window.

Two things I need to work on.  1)  Thin out the plants.  I usually put a couple of seeds in each space, so once they get growing I need to pinch back to just one plant.  It remains healthier, and I just don’t have the space in my garden to plant them all.   2)  I also think I need to figure out how to stake some of the seedlings, otherwise I’m going to get a giant tangled mess of climbing plants.  What do you do when your seedlings get too leggy and big and it’s too soon to plant them outdoors?

 

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