Monday, March 2, 2009

Monday Seedling Update

The seedlings are slowly growing. My onions planted in January now have their third leaves. Some have four, but most have three. The leeks planted a week later have two. They are supposed to be planted out in 2-3 weeks. With the blizzard going on outside my window, I'm skeptical. I keep planting more regardless of the weather.

Last week I seeded more onions. This time it was bunching onions with seed left over from last year. Onion seed doesn't last long. Many people say to throw it out each year. Otherwise one ought to check the germination rate before planting old seed to make sure it is strong enough to grow. If the germination rate is low, you should toss them. Some say you ought to have at least 80% germination some say 60% is good enough, anything less and the remaining seed is too weak to grow well. Did I check? Of course not. I just made blocks and planted four seeds in each block. I want that many because I'm going to block plant them. I won't thin. All of the seed germinated. Including five from one where I only planted four. I swear I counted out four in that block, so the seed is so vigorous it had 120% germination. Whoo hoo! No don't tell me I just dropped one in there. I need something to celebrate during our March blizzard.

The other plants hoping to go out in a couple of weeks are my newly seeded lettuce. I sowed two blocks of three different kinds on February 21st. The Merveille De Quartre Saison and Red Sails germinated in 2 1/2 days. The New Red Fire had one block come up in six days. The other block took eight. That is very slow germination for lettuce. Hopefully now that they are up they will be stronger growers.

So far the blocks are holding up well, but they haven't needed much watering yet. They seem to need water about every 4 days. I bottom water and soak them, then let them dry out until a little of the surface is dry.


  1. Your little seedlings are doing well! :)

  2. Looking good, Daphne! I'm so looking forward to seeding in the soil blocks....I'll be home a week from tonight!

  3. Cool soil blocks. My reseeded onions are just sprouting, wish I had soil blocks to seed them in. Nice lettuce too.

    Still no pinetree order, I'm starting to sound like a broken record. I think I will phone today. Starting to freak out as I need to start the cole crops this week or next and send your seed!

  4. So I have been trying to contact pinetree by e-mail with no response for a week. Today I tried phoning and it says the number is not in service. That's not a very good sign. Do you have another number for them other then 207-962-3400?

    I may have to order again from another supplier, I did see the Australian Yellow Leaf at a few other sources.

  5. Daphne, i'm anxious to see the results you, granny, john, and sinfonian have with the soil blocks. Keep us up to date with how well they hold together, because I may just try them myself - next year.


  6. Your block look great, Daphne! I'll keep sending good spring thoughts your way- I know you're worried a little about the timing and weather! Me too! We've had such weird, nice weather- It can't last!

  7. perennialgardener, thanks

    Annie's Granny, I find it funny that you call it "home". You live in two places. Are they both home?

    Dan, don't worry about me. I have more than enough seed on hand to grow lettuce this summer. I was just going to try that one and see if it held up longer in the heat than my old stand by, Red Sails. I don't need it. It is just fun to try out other varieties. I'm always hunting for heat tolerant lettuce. Most of them don't hold up at all. Our Boston summers really aren't that hot, but still too hot for lettuce all summer.

    EG, I will. I'm curious too as to how well they hold up. If they do, I will be ecstatic since I really hate the plastic pots that end up blowing around my garden before I get up the energy to wash them out for the next year. If they work well I'm going to have to get other sizes.

    Tessa, thanks. I've looked at the long range forecast and I know I'll be putting the plants out later than I wanted. It isn't a real big deal. Just a lot of work. I don't have enough light space to keep them inside with the stuff that needs seeding in the middle of March, so I'll have to bring them out everyday and bring them back in until I can finally work my soil. It is probably better for the onions anyway. They probably shouldn't go out that early, but I'm not buying more lights until I know if my LEDs work well. If so I'm getting at least one more. Otherwise it is back to fluorescents.

  8. Daphne, "home" is up north in the house where I've lived for twenty years. "Here in AZ" is my vacation house that I've decided to put up for sale after living here for five winters. If it sells, I'll be moving "home" for good! For the past 15 years, I've spent half my time in each state....I'm tired of traveling back and forth!

  9. Daphne, how did you make those soil blocks? (Feeling like a blockhead for asking, but I've never seen them, and they look great.)