FAILURE, AND SUCCESS, COMES EARLY

We're well into seed-starting season at this point. I can tell because I'm bored with it. Well, not bored with it, but it is lot of work to check on those little guys multiple times a day to make sure they are feeling happy.

Overall, I would say my seed starting has not been as successful this year as it was last year. Granted, I'm starting way more different kinds of seeds this year and fewer of each variety (although probably more overall), so I think I'm noticing when one fails.

I sowed three kinds of basil (two rows of each). Only two on the far end germinated, but this was seed from last year  (a successive sowing suggests that's the problem as none of that variety germinated). In the second group, six of the 10 germinated, but all on one side. In the third group, five germinated (some with multiple seeds per block), mostly in the middle.
As far as cute plants go, I think few things are cuter than baby basil.
Lacinato kale is looking great and is ready to make the move to the outdoor greenhouse.

I've had more germination problems than I recall last year and have lost more than a few when they went under lights. I'm blaming that on the heat from the lights, so I've been gradually acclimating them to the big light. Still it's strange to me that even though I pretty much always put two seeds in each soil block it seems that both germinate in some blocks and none in others, but rarely does just one germinate. This leads me to wonder if I don't have a problem with my soil block mixture. I can't imagine how I could as I'm using the same ingredients and "recipe" as last year.

Things are looking sad on the tomato front.
This is my first year growing tomatoes and I just started them a week ago (well, 10 days now) as I didn't want huge transplants because I'm convinced that's not great for plants. I planted six soil blocks of each variety, figuring I'd lose one of each, have up to two for myself and two to pass along to friends and maybe a spare. But they are germinating unevenly, some are not coming up at all and others seem to be succumbing to the dreaded damping off. So I'm not really sure what's happening, but I think I'm going to start a few more in a more traditional plug tray and see if that helps.

The greenhouse is open and accepting guests!

Nicotiana is happy to be outside.

So far, I'd say parsley has been my most successful sowing this year.

Sweet peas are on a roll.

I set up the temporary greenhouse last weekend and have moved several flats of seedlings that had already been potted on out there. (Some of you have asked about the greenhouse: It's the Flowerhouse Pro and I really like it. All the shelves come with it and store flat when not in use. It has big pegs to hold it down in the wind too, but I'm not sure how it would work if it were not on grass where it could be pegged down. That's an affiliate link; thanks so much for your support!) There was just too much in the house and not enough light to accommodate them all so something had to brave the up-and-down temperatures. Everything that I moved out there seems to be doing well. My guess is that the additional light they are getting there is making up for the chill.

Those sad little shoots where there when I opened the bins I was storing tubers in. They are coloring up in the sun.

I also started some dahlia tubers last weekend. I was very encouraged when I went to my parents' house to retrieve them (they have a cool but heated garage) and they were busting out the top. Unfortunately only the top layers in each box survived. I buried them in peat, but I think they were too dry, so I bet I lost at least 15 tubers. I'm glad that the 'David Howard' tubers were on top because I didn't buy any more of those this year. I also ordered a few new dahlias, which I potted up and have in the house until they sprout.

Gardening is always full of victories and defeats. Might as well get some of the latter out of the way early in the season.




3 comments :

  1. My seed starting has not been as successful this year either, I think because I have not been as obsessive about taking care of their needs. Plus I'm just behind this year...haven't even potted up my dahlias or elephant ears.

    Those nicotiana are looking great! And so are the basil that *did* come up! Did you order as many dahlias this year as last year? It is always sad when something doesn't survive overwinter. :(

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  2. I admire the dedication and frugality of people who start their own seeds. For me it's just not something I can do.

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  3. Here at Pipe Creek Farm we are dealing with fungus on our new seedlings. Most of the hot peppers, peppers and tomatoes fell victim...starting over after soil change and using coppercide spray ...every year is different and we are experts at making it up as we go along!Don't be discouraged....garden on!

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