Monday, February 16, 2009

Monday Seedling Update

The cute little onion and leeks seedlings are getting stronger. Or at least some of them are. The onions all have their second leaf and are reaching up to the lights. I raised the light last week just a bit to accommodate them. Now they are hitting the lights again. I'll either have to raise the lights again or snip the highest inch off.

I've noticed that some of my seedlings are very strong, and some not quite up to par. I wish I had sown about a third more cells with seed, so I could just pick the strongest. The really weak ones I've pulled out but there are still the almost OK ones. I noticed when I planted those kind of leek seedlings last year they just didn't perform. The strong ones got over an inch in diameter, the weaker ones only got to be pencil width. I'm sure my onions will behave about the same. I need a little more will power to make my onions better, but I also need more onion seedlings.

I'm also still debating with myself what to do with the cells that have more than one strong seedling. I can plant them as a unit. Though I've never done it, supposedly bulbing onions grow fine next to one another. They push each other apart as they grow. Or I can transplant strong seedlings to an empty cell. Hmm decisions, decisions. The part of me that is itching to garden wants to transplant them now - not to mention the obsessive part of me that wants nice neat rows all alike. The scientist in me wants to see what happens when I plant two or three onions right next to one another. I think the scientist part is going to win out, but the gardener part might sneak up the scientist someday while she isn't looking and just do it.


  1. Hi Daphne--
    Oh it does a heart good to witness the exuberance of seedlings!

    I do trim the tops of leeks and onions, by the way and use the trimmings in salad and omelets. It doesn't hurt fact I think it keeps them from falling over and stressing the root. And I have planted out little onion or leek clusters (2-4 seedlings) before. I just harvest all but one in the cluster at pencil size (for braising, steaming, or grilling) and let the last/best one grow on.

    Man, I'm getting excited now! Thanks!!

  2. I would trim too. I trimmed mine a week or two ago and they are noticeably stronger now, although they have yet to get as strong looking as yours. I wish I started my seeds when you started yours.

    I am going to try multi-planting the onions this season, it looks interesting. You could always plant half together and the other half in a straight row and see what does better.

  3. deborah, thanks for the info. I usually think of cutting them as a way to keep them from outgrowing their lights, but I've never thought of it as keeping their roots healthy. I have noticed some of the plants bending over too far. Maybe that will help.

    Dan, yup I'm going to trim them this week. I am going to plant most of the plants as single plants since I've thinned out most to one seedling. I can't bear to pull up strong seedlings though. So there are quite a few with more than one. I'm hoping I can hold out for a month and not transplant so I can see what happens with multiplanting. Such a strong part of me wants to transplant. I'm trying to contain it.

  4. Well, I know absolutely nothing about growing onions and leeks. Sorry....But, I do think that your led lights look cool!


  5. Daphne,

    Your babies look great- looks like the LEDs are a success. I can't wait for hubby to have a bit of time to experiment with making me one that will cover 2 flats! Looks like blue is it, would you agree. I think we may do a mix- I need to do a little more research and find a place that sells the LEDs. The fact that they are grown freaks me a little! Can we say terminator?

  6. Opps! Forgot. Why don't you run some trials- grow some together and some not. That way your satisfying of your sides!

  7. Hi Daphne, it is crunch time, making these decisions! Pulling the weaker plants is something I have not been able to do, unless they are really pathetic and my bar is quite low. I just keep putting them into more and more trays. No way is there room under the lights, or even in the windows on shelves for them all. I am trying to hang on until some of the cold tolerant stuff can go outside to harden off. On warmer days that has already begun. But it is 23 degrees right now, nothing can be out for several days until another warm front comes through. In the meantime, overcrowding reigns!

  8. EG, The do look very cool. From my kitchen table we can see the LED lights. They glow a really deep blue and the snow reflects it all. They are very pretty.

    Tessa, I will grow some of both I think. Most only have one seedling in them, so those will be my singles.

    Frances, it is so hard to kill the little babies, but I do get a better harvest if I do. I hope you get your warm weather soon.