It’s SOW exciting!

First seeding 2019  It’s time to do the third round of indoor seeding for the 2019 season!  I’ll admit, the first round (shown above 8 days after seeding) was a “not really motivated, not ready for the commitment, but know I’ll be sorry if I don’t” affair.  The second round was during the Polar Vortex, when gardening anytime in the upcoming weeks seemed an unlikely prospect.  Round 3 feels altogether different.  First of all, we actually had our FIRST sunny day in February, and that makes such a difference in attitude.  Secondly, this round includes some of the main, important crops:  all the various hot and sweet  peppers and lots of onions (scallions, red, white, yellow storage, more cippolini), a few more slow-starting annual flowers (ageratums tall for cutting and dwarf for containers, asarina, nicotiana, madia, more snapdragons and dwarf calendula.)  Thirdly, most importantly, some work was accomplished in the potager last week so it looks tidier and just the acts of clipping and toting stems to compost bins lifted my spirits.  Crocus tips  And lastly, there are tiny green crocus shoots emerging in the Front Garden and Deck Garden.  Hurrah!  The neighbor’s pig didn’t get them all!

As usual, standard hygiene practices were used to prepare the flats, plant labels and domes for seeding. See “A Heap of Hope” post for guidance.  The “Round 3” divider card from the seed storage box was checked to see which seeds need light to germinate (nicotiana, foxglove, snapdragons, balloonflower, ageratum), and which need darkness (none this round.)  Sterilized potting soil was used to fill the seeding flats, and all rows were not only carefully labeled but recorded in the seeding journal to keep things clear just in case a label is lost.  The seeding journal is my bible right now, with records from the past three years to guide this year’s plans.  It doesn’t help to take notes if they aren’t read, so now is a good time to study those observations jotted down here and there and possibly organize them a bit, reflect on them, maybe do a bit more research.

For instance, my notes tell me that the onions grown from seed have kept much better than those grown from sets, so I’ll seed more this year.  A few sets will be planted, partly because I can’t resist buying a few and because they provide scallions so quickly, but I’m not purchasing onion plants at all.  I’d also forgotten that parsnip seed (like spinach seed) needs to be fresh each year for decent germination, so I tacked on a packet of parsnip to my recent Renee Shepherd seed order.  Seeing all those little green babies is lifting my spirits.  Soon it will be time to start transplanting.  It’s all SO, SOW very exciting!

Have you begun seeding?  Are you getting excited about the upcoming season, or is your season well underway?

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About carolee

A former professional herb and lavender grower, now just growing for joy in my new potager. When I'm not in the garden, I'm in the kitchen, writing, or traveling to great gardens.
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19 Responses to It’s SOW exciting!

  1. Still several feet of snow on the ground in central Maine. Winter doesn’t leave until the end of March. Those little, green shoots are a lovely sight.

    Liked by 1 person

    • carolee says:

      Our snow all melted yesterday and now the ground is frozen solid again with dropping temps on the way. UGH! I know we have lots of winter left to come, but it’s still nice to see bits of green bravely emerging. We often have snow in April, and a few times in May…..

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Here in SW Wales perennial things like rhubarb are beginning to show and today I did my first sowings in the greenhouse but with no heat – broad beans and dwarf peas. If I sow more tender things now they will be too big when I am able to plant them out.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. grafedie says:

    Are all those seedlings cropping up inside or outside?
    How do you prevent them from getting lanky? I have a crop of lettuces and beets coming up inside,
    but they are stretching to get to the lights (which are hanging close to the beds) do you thin and repot?

    Liked by 1 person

    • carolee says:

      All the seedling are inside in the basement which stays about 50F. It’s 15 degrees below freezing daytime temps outdoors this week, and colder at night of course. I have a homemade light stand, with only florescent lights mostly, a couple “labeled plants and aquarium”, but frankly, neither I nor the plants seem to detect a difference. Yes, I will transplant the ALL seedlings into 4 packs when they are large enough (no thinning!!!!!) My seedlings don’t seem to stretch because I keep the lights about 1″ from their tops until they get too large for the shelf. (I can adjust lights but not shelves.) Then they get moved to the bench, which is 6′ from a small florescent ceiling light, but they generally aren’t there more than a few weeks before they go to the greenhouse.

      Liked by 1 person

  4. As always, so helpful and informative! I’m thinking my sweet peas are leggy due to the light being so high up, I think It’s too late to lower it, but maybe I’ll figure something out, or just start over….not sure yet. But there’s carnations under that light, so I need to at least move the sweet peas out front under the light and lower it so the carnations don’t have the same leggy fate as the sweet peas. I do have a question – I hate to bother you, but I have some flats in the common area, where the temps can get rather warm due to a very healthy wood stove fire – 76 degrees – only getting light from the window- is this bad for the seedlings? The ones in the laundry room that are at 70’ish degrees – under the light – seem to be doing better. But if they were in the green house on a sunny day, wouldn’t they get just as hot – but maybe the heat in there isn’t as dry? Thanks for all your information, I look forward to reading more!

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    • carolee says:

      I think it’s probably more of a question of light than temp, although that can affect things that do like to grow cool. Yes, a greenhouse can get very warm on a sunny day, although there are generally automatic vent fans to control it so it never gets too warm for healthy growing. Greenhouses do have higher humidity, which some plants enjoy, but without circulating fans that can lead to molds and other problems. When you are ready to start heat lovers (celosia, sunflowers, amaranths, zinnias, etc.) they will like the warmth of the common area, but you will probably need to put them under lights at night to keep them from stretching. The sweet peas stretching is not that big a problem since they will go on a trellis anyway, but the carnations do need strong stems. How many hours are your lights on? Remember it takes 2 hours of artificial light to equal 1 hour of sunlight, and those seedlings want 8-10 hours of sun!

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      • I’ve been doing 15 hours under the light, some days a bit more some days a bit less. A bit of trial & error will be repeated over here for this growing season! It will all work out!

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      • carolee says:

        And it’s not earth-shattering if there’s a glitch here or there (and there is bound to be no matter how experienced one is, because Mother Nature always has some ideas of her own!)

        Liked by 1 person

  5. Island Time says:

    The polar vortex finally reached the west coast several weeks ago, and is still with us, so despite gradually lengthening days, the ground is frozen solid, and garden things still very much under wraps. I should be starting a few things: leeks, lettuce….trying to become inspired. I think your post will help!

    Like

  6. Green Magick says:

    Ohh, I so long to see the green again! We have had some serious winter snow here, and I love it, but I can feel the drumbeats of spring now. I really enjoyed this post. When we first moved to our small farm, a stellar gardener nearby told us onions wouldn’t grow right here from seed. He said to only plant sets. Well, as you pointed out, onions don’t last as long grown from sets. So we started seed onions, instead, two years ago. Best keepers, ever!

    Like

    • carolee says:

      It’s always interesting to hear firsthand accounts. Just goes to prove what works best for some doesn’t always work best for others….different soils, different goals, different varieties, different timing…so many variables. Continual experimenting will generally reveal the best techniques for each gardener and garden. Onions can be especially tricky since there are long-day and short day. Maybe when the “stellar” gardener tried seeds they were the wrong kind, or direct seeded, or seeded too early, or too late….I’m sure he/she felt she was giving her best advice based on her/his experience. Thanks for reading!

      Liked by 1 person

  7. carla says:

    Hey there! You often comment on my blog so I thought I would let you know I have a gardening group on Facebook- based out of Chester County PA but all like minded gardeners welcome https://www.facebook.com/groups/ChesCoGardening/

    Liked by 1 person

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