Thursday, February 21, 2013

A New Chapter in Starting (some) Seeds

Every day I am reminded of what I do not know. Today was another one of those days. I've been starting seeds long enough that it seems I should have a basic understanding of the process, which I do, but being open to other methods just reaped grand rewards. I know it's kind of dramatic when I'm only talking about germination, but this is the shit that makes life bloom. Ah, seeds.

This gem of a gardener and author, Nancy J Ondra, of Hayefield, not only has an AMAZING yard she also offered up a bunch of her seeds to the first responders to her blog. I was one of the lucky recipients! That generous gift was followed by a post on starting seeds. She read something that had changed how she approached starting seeds, which got me interested. The method was seemingly simple and something most kids have done in elementary school; starting seeds in baggies. But what didn't occur to me is that I could start larger seeds quicker and with better return IF I could find a 70 degree place to put these. I do not have a 70 degree room in my house, unless it's July. After taking a few thermometer readings in microclimates around the house, I found one; on top of the hot water tank. No shit.

So, I ran 1 experiment. One baggie, one paper towel, barely moist and sandwiching 15 Poblano pepper seeds. Now, I must premise by saying that IF my peppers germinate it takes 3+ weeks for that to occur. These poblanos germinated in 4 days. Come again? My life as I know it has changed. No more overwintering my favorite chili pepper plants! I've already decided to branch out and try some eggplant seeds. They are smaller, but still manageable. Of course you can't use this technique with tiny seeds. Too bad. Maybe I need to experiment with super thin, easily compostable paper towels.

Bad news- I couldn't get a decent photo of the germination. This was the best I could get:
Poblano pepper seeds germination- hot water tank

IF there is a downside to this method it is that you have to check the seeds nearly every day. Staring at soil to see if anything has come up is like watching water boil. It isn't a problem for me. 

Lots of seed starting business going down these days. Progress reports:
I started to move some of the peppers off of the bottom heat to use that space to start other things. These fellows were looking good and I gave up on believing any more would germinate. 

Lots of spring garden schtuff germinating and I've already begun to harden off in the window wells. We had sleet, snow and everything in between today so I brought two flats back under the lights (for today only).

Lettuce, kale, spinach, mesclun, scallions and more.
Scallions germinating in lower, right hand pot.

Lots of Browalia

Just seeded Alyssum- white

What every member of the Brassica (cabbage) family looks like upon germination:

Tropical Cuttings are looking good.

That's it folks. I got nothing more to say, only more seeds to start.

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