April 21, 2014


The seedlings for the year are coming up nicely. I am most impressed with the cabbage and squashes so far, they look really healthy and strong. The tomatoes look good, although they could really benefit from some sunlight (real sunlight) and a light wind blowing them around (to make the stems stronger). Today was the first day that it was warm enough to set them outside in some light shade for a couple hours - it was above seasonal temperatures here, people were wearing tshirts and some were even wearing shorts. It will cool off over the rest of the week but I think I'll try to get them outside for a couple hours each day to start acclimating them. They are getting too tall for the grow lights anyways!

Disappointing so far have been the onions, and the peppers. One pepper came up well, all seedlings sprouted, and is strong and healthy. The others are weak and poor germination, and I'm not sure why. They got the same soil and same treatment as the other pepper, and all the tomatoes, which are all doing fine. Perhaps it was bad seed, some old seed? Some seeds I got in a trade, others I purchased fresh this year, so I'm not sure. I'm going to plant some more and see how they do. Its getting late in the year to be planting peppers from seed but I have so few that I really need to try something.

The onions are disappointing from a different perspective. I like growing onions from seed, you can choose the variety, and sets are very vague (white onion, spanish onion, is about the extent of the varietal information). Onions from seed aren't supposed to be too hard either, just need to be started quite early. But mine never quite work out the way I plan. They sprout, but they are so skinny (even under strong grow lights) that they end up lying down instead of growing sturdier stalks, and then eventually wilt and die away. I have no idea what I'm doing wrong but I'm going to be looking at some "internet research", as my sister kids me, to figure it out. They are alive, but not very strong or healthy looking. Certainly nowhere near ready to be planted, and they should be getting close to garden planting now. This is the second year in a row and I need to figure this out!

But so far so good on everything else. Potatoes are cut and waiting to sprout a little, and then they will get planted into the garden too. Snow cover over the garden is gone (finally, after such a long and tough winter) so it is almost time for potatoes, onions (if they make it), cabbage, peas, carrots perhaps (direct sown).

Next up, starting some flower seeds. Once some of the herbs and early veggies are moved outside, I'll have space under the grow lights for some flowers. Sunflowers, marigolds (for the tomato patch), I'm going to try a couple asters, hollyhocks and columbines this year as well to add to the flower gardens. I'd really like to try and get a good hollyhock patch growing. They are bi-annuals so they only bloom every second year. Most varieties are, at least, some of the newer ones can bloom annually. But with the bi-annuals, you have to have some in their first year (growing year) and some in their second year (blooming year) to have flowers each year. They will re-seed themselves, although I always scatter seeds to help them along because they struggle in the mulch of the garden. I have a couple hollyhocks, but I'd like to try to develop that into a couple nice patches that can pretty much take care of themselves. They are so beautiful and tall, and bloom for such a long time in the summer.

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