Wednesday, January 30, 2013

2013 Has Officially Begun

Doesn't the year always start when you put your first seeds in the ground? Or in my case the first seeds in potting soil. Yesterday I finally made up my planting schedule. It isn't hard. I made a spreadsheet years ago. Whenever I get seeds I put into the spreadsheet how long I want to grow them as transplants and how long before or after the last frost they go in the ground. The spreadsheet automatically calculates the day to plant the seeds be it indoors or out. I don't use the numbers as gospel. I give or take depending on the year or how I think things are going or just if I feel like planting that day. The spreadsheet told me that I should have planted my onions on January 24th. So I looked for my planting trays.

What I found was a pile of dirty trays. Oh ick. So I spent quite a while cleaning them all up. Most people will tell you to use chlorine, but I don't have any. I don't like chlorine so I just use detergent and water. Afterwards I didn't feel like planting anymore. But today was another day and I finally got to it.

I planted up a whole tray of Copra and a half a tray of Redwing and Ailsa Craig. Each tray has room for 72 one and a half inch soil blocks. I know from experience that that number will be more than enough to fill my onion beds. I'll be able to toss out the small and sickly seedlings.

As you can see I grow my plants under lights. Onions are day length sensitive so for now I'll have them on for 12 hours a day. Usually for plants I use a 15 hour daylight cycle, but that would confuse the heck out of my long day onions. They would think it was time to start bulbing up.

I do a couple of things to help along the seedlings. I sprinkle the tops with cinnamon. The hope is that it keeps down the damping off. Occasionally I have trouble with damping off, but very rarely. Also to help with that and to make it easier for the seed, I cover the seeds with vermiculite instead of potting soil. I find that seeds come up much better when covered that way. Once I was done I covered everything with plastic wrap. That will stay on until I see the first little sprout start to come up. I can't wait.


  1. Looks a bit like in my kitchen at the moment, though here it is mostly trays and pots that I clean! :) Must check out if there is a brand of soilblock-makers here, in Sweden! Like the sound of Your spreadsheets as well! Must make one with those parameters! Guess it takes forever... But nice tips! Thanks! Have a great week! :) Mia

  2. I need to get going - it's time to start sowing here too. I think my first planting will be parsley, and some green onions. I decided to order my bulbing onions plants this year.

  3. I'm right behind you! This Saturday will be our day. I've learned the hard way that when using vermiculite to cover the seeds, it's important to water the bottom tray and spray only on the tops.

  4. I've always used a little detergent and water to clean my pots too.

  5. Maybe I should get started sooner but right now the sunroom is a workshop/firewood storage room. The onions are penciled in on Feb 12 on the spreadsheet. Guess I better start moving some things around. I've also had concern about the effect of day length on onions. I recently read that the only reason for keeping lights on seedlings for 16 hours is to make up for the weak light compared to sunlight. Maybe if more light is added the long hours aren't needed.

  6. You are on your way (once again!). I have never used the cinnamon for damping off - learn something new all the time. I have actually not had much problem with that but will keep that in mind in case I do. My first round of seedlings are emerged and growing so my growing season is definitely underway too.

  7. uh-oh, i should have checked i earlier with you. now i am almost 2 weeks behind. i did not know about the hours-of-light issue. do scallions care?

    1. Not sure. I wouldn't think that they do as they don't bulb.

  8. The first seeds of the year are so fun. I guess I'd better start cleaning out my plant room and get my seeds ordered. Hard to think about when it is snowing!