Friday, April 30, 2010


Tomatillos are big enough to plant

Today will be a big day for the seedlings. After some really cold and windy weather, we will be getting up into the 70Fs and maybe even the 80s for the next week. Our normal temps this time of year are in the 60Fs, so I'd better take good advantage of all the sun and the warmth. It is time to get those warm weather seedlings out to see the sun.

I have a few partial flats of seedlings still going under the lights. Above are the flowers and herbs. From left to right we have: borage, basil, flat leafed parsley, State Fair zinnia, and Ground Control marigolds. I like being able to take out the blocks that don't germinate.

The New Zealand spinach isn't coming up. I'm wondering if it is one of those plants that need to be nicked to germinate in a reasonable time. They have a pretty hefty seed coat. Has anyone grown these before?

My peppers were germinated in paper towels. Most of the seeds that were transferred came up. Just a couple decided not to after sending out roots. Currently I have them labeled with color coded toothpicks.

My tomatoes are doing well. This is the first flat of them. I only have three along the middle because the lights they are under are not very wide. They only have an eight inch reflector and the ones on the outside rows were leaning in way too much. Three rows works well for the narrow lights. The lights with the twelve inch reflector seems to be working well with the whole width of the flat (the peppers and flowers). Maybe I should buy a few more of those before they disappear from the store.

This is the second partial flat of tomatoes. I'm labeling these with my old Popsicle sticks. I germinated these with paper towels too. Though one of my Amish paste never came up the rest are doing well. The Opalka and the San Marzano still have one or two missing but they have just been put into the blocks since they germinated later than the rest. I was going to put the descriptions of all the tomatoes in this post, but I've decided that I would rather have it in a separate post for my own info. I tend to forget things and want all the information easy to find.


  1. Happy looking seedlings !

    Temps are looking up here too. April has been soooo windy, unrelenting. Today is sunny, calm(er) and glorious. I'll be out in the garden all day today, hope you are too.

    Enjoy the sun and warmth !

  2. Your tomatilloes are HUGE compared to mine. And the leaves look different too. I'm now wondering if I got the right seeds. Everything looks great! And yes, this weekend will sure be a lovely one.

  3. The tomatillos look excellent! Mine are just tiny things still. Did you start them earlier then the other tomatoes? Seems we are have similar weather again, freezing the last few days and warm now. Hitting 77f here today so most warm season crops are out in the tunnel.

  4. I LOVE the color coded toothpicks! Why didn't you tell me about them earlier, before I went through all that sticky duct tape? ;-)

    I still have a few things under lights in the laundry room, and I've used the big lights in the shed the past two day to keep my peppers happy until our windstorms subside. I find the 2' double fixture, along with the natural light from the "plant" window (north facing, practically worthless) is just right for keeping a supply of lettuce seedlings going.

  5. Your seedlings look great! I also pre-sprout a lot of my seeds in paper towels. It has worked out well for me.

    I certainly hope that this crazy weather is over...strange spring we have had.

  6. Clever idea marking with colored toothpicks...

    I think we're finally getting into some more even temps here. The night temps seem to be getting warmer, while the daytime are about the same

    I think I'm going to get a soil block maker. It was so nice being able to plop my newspaper pots in the ground, but I'd love to skip the "making them" step. What block size do you think works best, or should I invest in multiple?

  7. miss m, sadly except for transporting the seedlings out, I'm staying inside. My lungs still aren't working right so no heavy breathing for me, which is too bad. We closed on our new house yesterday and I could use to get some of the yard work done there. There isn't a lot to do right now, but I do need some time there. It is heavy digging and lifting, so a pair of working lungs would be useful. Though I suppose hired help could do it all if I can't.

    Thomas, they are huge. They grew much faster than the pineapple tomatillos I grew last year. Well the plants didn't grow faster, bu the germination was a couple of weeks earlier so they are larger than I expected.

    Dan, I started them with my peppers which I think are a week ahead of the tomatoes.

    Annie's Granny, well I've been sick and not blogging a lot this week. Either that or I'm holding back all the good info on purpose ;> I just did it earlier this week as I rearranged the plants. I had some tomatoes in with the peppers then moved them out again. I needed to move the peppers so they were squished together so had to come up with a new solution to labeling since one row contained multiple varieties. I like the color coding. I don't have to worry about losing the label. It wouldn't work for the tomatoes though. I have too many varieties.

    Robin, it is a strange spring. It has been way too warm on average. Though with some normal temps thrown in occasionally to keep us honest with not putting out the warm weather crops early.

    Momma_S, my favorite size is 1 1/2" blocks. They fit 6x12 in a flat, so you can get a lot of them in for the space. They are good for everything but things like tomatoes and peppers that need bigger pots. Last year I transplanted that size into newspaper pots for my tomatoes and peppers. This year I started them in the 2" and am hoping not to have to transplant at all. The 2" is too big for most things. They take up too much space. I find things don't sprout in the 3/4" one well. That size fits right into the 2" one so it is an easy pot up. Onions need to be multiplanted in the 1 1/2" size. Though I'm thinking of going back to straight flats next year for onions. They just take up too much space any other way and they don't really mind getting ripped apart all that much. So the answer is - it depends. If you don't mind still making newspaper pots for the larger things, the 1 1/2" is all you need. I've found it handles most things well for about four weeks. I rarely grow transplants for longer.

  8. I grew a couple New Zealand spinach plants last year. I'm over in Oregon and I just direct seeded them in May without doing anything special to them. They took FOREVER to germinate! Seriously, FOREVER! Don't give up hope yet. I decided not to grow again because they got so lanky and wild in the garden, and I just didn't like their taste very much. But they certainly are workhorses when they finally do get going.

  9. Your seedlings look really good. I have tried twice now to get my Early Butternut squash started and both times they have failed. I am going to start them in papertowels this time and see if the seed is the problem or whether the sterile soil mix is to blame.

  10. Lacey, thanks for the info. I'll keep them in their blocks and well watered. I hope they germinate at some point.

    kitsapFG, good luck. I hope your seed isn't totally bad.