Wednesday, March 15, 2017

Spring Seedlings

Spring is springing up in the garden-- my first set of seedlings, the baby bok choi "Green Fortune" are up.  Since this picture was taken a week ago, something has been nibbling them, and they are quite raggedy.  I will seed another set tomorrow or Friday.    Just above the bok choi, out of the picture, my cilantro has started to sprout and show the first true leaves as well.  

I planted my indoor eggplants, tomatoes, and peppers on March 5th, and by March 12th I had all of my tomatoes up.  There's a heat mat under the containers which is speeding germination.   In the 3 days since the first sprouting, some eggplants and peppers have come up too. 

The tomatoes have spread our their cotyledon leaves and you can see the nubs of the first set of true leaves at the apical meristem. That's a great sign that I have the light at the right height. If the light was too far away, the seedlings would grow tall stems first in an attempt to get more light. The stems would be weak and spindly and the seedlings would probably fall over and fail. But instead all is well.

The lights in question are a pair of full spectrum fluorescent tubes in a white reflective hood.  I'm following the suggested spacing for fluorescent lights (via the Upstart Farmer's blog).  The plant stand has a pair of rails on each side, allowing me to adjust the lights as the seedlings grow upward.

I'm growing duplicates of some things, in case there are accidents or the germination rate was not good.  I'll share seedlings with gardener friends, there are always homes for wayward seedlings!  The light stand has two levels, and in a week or two I'll start my squashes and cucumbers on the bottom shelf under the other light hood.  They get to transplanting size much faster than the tomatoes and peppers, so I start them later.   If the chard I sowed last week outdoors hasn't sprouted by then, I'll start some chard too.  It's always good to have a backup plan.


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