So I went to the transplant sale a few weeks ago over at Turtle Farm, and picked up a whole pile of random seedlings, and here is what I ended up getting (I’ve included links with more info for some of the more off-beat items):
So I have a pretty good variety of random stuff for the garden. And we’ll see what does or doesn’t do well in the garden this year.
You’ll also notice that the seedlings that I started are looking better compared to a few weeks ago. I guess there really is something to using a bulb that is more in the blue spectrum. Since these seedlings are definitely looking hardier than they were two weeks ago. A few more days, and all these seedlings are going to be put into the ground, and the garden will then officially be up and running for the season.
As far as the peppers and the tomatoes, those are both on schedule to be transplanted around May 20th. But the herbs are looking VERY weak this year. So this year, instead of going to Goode’s Greenhouse or Menards, I’m heading up to Turtle Farm, to round out all the seedlings that didn’t come in this year. But I’ll also pick up a bunch of random plants, just for fun. Since I’m always up for growing something different.
So we’ll see what that farm has to offer this weekend!
One other this I did this weekend was to change out the fluorescent bulbs above the seedlings, since the seedlings were looking a bit “leggy.” I talked with my farmer neighbor, and apparently when you start plants, you are supposed to use a bulb that is more in the red spectrum. But then after the seedlings have germinated, you’re supposed to transition to a bulb that is more in the blue spectrum. Apparently this is supposed to mimic the sun in going from spring to summer. Talk about learning something new everyday, since I’d never heard of this before, so I might as well give it a shot.
We are now in full seedling mode in the house. Most of the time, I’ve been keeping the seedlings in the house, since its still in the high 40’s to low 50’s outside. But on the couple of days these past few weeks, it’s been in the high 60’s, so I was able to take both flats outside for a couple of hours of sun in the late afternoon and early evening.
For some reason the only seeds that haven’t germinated out of the two flats, are the bell pepper, rosemary & cilantro seeds. So it looks like I’ll just have to pick these plants up, when I go to the seedling sale at Turtle Farm up in Granger, in about two to three weeks.
The seedling sale starts next weekend (Easter Weekend) at Turtle Farm, but I’d rather wait until it’s a little bit closer to Mother’s Day, just so I don’t have a bunch of seedlings getting “leggy” in the house, when they would be better off in the greenhouse over at Turtle Farm for the time being.
After three days we already have some activity in the flats. From flat #1 the swiss chard has sprouted, and from flat #2 the basil has sprouted.
I’m especially surprised about the basil, since it usually takes about 2 weeks to germinate. But seeing how both flats have a heating pad that is keeping the growing environment at a constant 80F, the accelerated germination shouldn’t be surprising (but it still is to me.)
But with the basil & swiss chard having sprouted, I’ve set-up the grow lights and a timer to begin an artificial light schedule starting on Sunday morning at 6am. Let the growing season begin!
I’m a little late in starting my seedlings this year, but not by too much, since last year I started my seedlings in mid-March. But with a later start to my seedlings, I also plan on waiting at least a week after Mother’s Day before I do any transplanting this year. So any late start is a moot point.
But after reviewing my growing notes from last year. I put together 2 flats of seedlings, one with all herbs, and the other all vegetables. I’m holding off on starting the sweet corn & cucumbers until a week before transplanting, since both seeds only take a day to germinate, so there is no sense in starting them this early. But for the two flats that I did start, here is the breakdown of all 72 cells in each flat:
Flat #1 – Vegetables 9 cells – JSS Jalapenos
9 cells – Aji Limo
6 cells – JSS Eva Tomatoes
6 cells – JSS Voyager Tomatoes
6 cells – JSS Debarao Tomatoes
3 cells – Big Boy Tomatoes
6 cells – Roma Tomatoes
9 cells – Swiss Chard
9 cells – Bell Peppers
9 cells – Saved seeds from a tomato that had very little pulp in 2010
Look at that sweet corn grow! And check out all the rest of the random stuff that I’ve gotten from my farmer neighbor (leeks, fingerling seed potatoes), as well as from the local nursery (white and red onion sets, sage, basil, cilantro, rosemary.)
You can also see in photo #5 the free seeds (see here) that I got from my neighbor starting to germinate.
Here are a bunch of pics of the discarded seedlings in the white cups. I also started a whole flats worth of sweet corn just to test to out, and so far they seem to be doing very well. The sweet corn ended up germinating a lot quicker than I thought it would (about 3 days to sprout.)
A couple of you might know this, but the guy that lives next door to me, works on a CSA farm on the outskirts of town. Any questions that I have about agriculture/farming, I always shoot his way. Well now that the growing season is well under way, he let me know that he had a bunch of very old seeds from Johnny’s that they couldn’t use on the farm, since they were too old (expiration date of 2005.) So he let me know that if I wanted some, that I was more then welcome to poach however much I needed.
Since the packets that he had were 1/4 to 1/2lb in size and being how old the seeds were, I only ended up taking about a 100 seeds of the two different seeds that he had. I guess we shall see in the next week or so, if anything germinates out of these seeds. Since they both looked like two very interesting seed varieties for squashes.
Turns out that my hunch from last night was right, and I basically lost an entire row of white cups in the salad table. But it turns out that I was a little bit lucky, in that I had tossed all the extra seedlings that I didn’t transplant onto a dirt pile in the basement. I really don’t know which is which among the seedlings in the pile. So I basically just dumped out the contents of the hail damaged crop cups, sifted out all the destroyed seedlings, and mixed the wet potting soil with some potting soil that was bone dry to equal out the moisture level of the potting mix. Continue reading →
OK, talk about a freak hailstorm. On Saturday night, I finished transplanting almost everything from flat #1 into 10 oz white plastic cups. The only things that I didn’t transplant from the flat into cups were the Aji and the El Jefe, and thank god that I didn’t. Because on Sunday afternoon around 1:30pm, the sky turned dark and hell was than unleashed for about 30 mins. And during that 30 minute downpour of marble sized hail, the hail basically destroyed all the seedlings that I had left outside on a salad table that I had built.
Tomorrow afternoon, I’ll have to go through all the cups to see what is salvageable from all the plants. But so far it looks like the only survivors are some of the cucumbers and zucchini. And maybe some of the bell peppers. Man this sucks!