Monday, April 27, 2009

Monday Seedling Update and Harvest Tally

My seedling update will eventually end as the seedlings all become plants. In its place will be my weekly harvest and the monetary tally. Since this week is the first week with a harvest and I still have lots of seedlings, I will do both.

The harvest was tiny and if you follow the this blog you've already seen it once. I harvested 1/2oz of chives and 1/3oz of spinach thinnings. It was exciting for me to get my first harvest, but it hardly evened out my tally. The spinach came in at a whopping $0.14 and the chives at $0.22. But hey, its 36 cents on the positive side of the tally. Us northerners will take anything we can get at this time of year.

On the negative side I spent $1.56 more on two pounds of seed potatoes this week to make a total spent of 210.55. Dang I'm getting a harvest and still spending more than I'm making. The total now stands at $210.19.

Now on to the seedlings. Since I harvested spinach from seedlings, I'm going to show you those first. This photo is for Annie's Granny and Annie's Kitchen Garden who had trouble thinning her spinach (but did finally do it). The bottom two rows were planted with chitted seed three inches apart. The rows are six inches apart (15 cm). The top row is where I put all my excess seed. It was seeded 3/4-1 inch apart (2 cm). I thinned out half of the top row already. That row's plants are tiny compared to the ones that have had more room to grow. They are about 2/3s the size of the other plants. Thinning really makes your plants grow faster. Be ruthless.

Weirdly our recent heat has really made the peas take off. I have gaps in the rows that never germinated. I reseeded the gaps on Friday.

The heat has really made the corn start to grow. It just sat there during our cold weather earlier last week, but now it is shooting up. I took the plastic off the four hills that were covered with it. The mid 80°F (30°C) was really hot enough. It didn't need to be baked. The three hills with the remay row cover I left on. It also covers my spinach and I want to protect that from any possible insects.

My brassica bed is really no longer seedlings. They are plants. They have grown so much. The row on the right side are Gonzales cabbage. The dark green plants in the front are tatsoi. The light green plants behind that are the Fun Jen. Above the middle Fun Jen you can just make out the purple mizuna. Over to the left is the komatsuna (also called mustard spinach) and the Holland greens. What you can't see is the broccoli. It is to the right of the cabbage. Two are doing well, one is getting eaten by the slugs. Sigh. I pulled a slug off this morning and squished it.

I do have real seedlings out in the garden too. My marigolds in soil blocks were eating up the warm spell. I had to pinch off the first bud. They really need to go into the bed already, but I haven't finished double digging it yet. Note to self: seed the marigolds two weeks later next year.

However the tithonia is has gotten burnt from the heat. Poor things. We have had two days of record breaking weather in the Northeast. We broke one record that has held for about a century. The seedlings would have been fine if they were in the ground, but the little soil blocks just heat up too much and the plants suck the water out of them too fast. I did water them twice yesterday, but even that wasn't enough. I've moved them to a place that gets afternoon shade, but really they are of a size to go into the ground. I need to make their bed today. I have SO much to do in the garden. I spent about four hours yesterday working and am still behind. At least today will be cooler.

Now on to the indoor seedlings. I've been starting the hardening off period for them. Friday they had an hour. Saturday three hours. And Sunday five hours. The place they were in was almost full sun. It is under the oak trees, but the leaves haven't come out yet. The branches provided a bit of protection from the scorching sun however so they all did fine.

They have taken off now that they are in the real sun. I can't believe how quickly the peppers and tomatoes have grown in just two days. I normally plant them sometime between May 1st and May 15th. Usually the later date since May can turn very cold and rainy. About May 1st I look at the long range weather forecast and see if it is going to be nice weather. Nice weather means not rainy all the time. I can make it hot with a plastic tunnel, but only if there is sun. Sadly it is too early to tell what May will be like and the peppers really need to be planted now. It looks like the tomatoes will need to be planted in about a week. Note to self: peppers only needs six weeks, tomatoes only four weeks from seed. Don't believe that silliness of 8-10 weeks for peppers and 6-8 weeks for tomatoes.

I have so many other plants growing in small amounts. My Italian basil is doing well (four plants on the right). The lemon basil is smaller but still looking nice (center bottom). The tomatillos doing great (bottom left). It took them three weeks to germinate, but once up they seem happy. The following are not shown. The eggplant is all up and just has seed leaves. The monarda is finally getting a bit bigger. The next succession of lettuce and tatsoi is coming along great. One block of lettuce (not sure which one yet since the blocks got mixed up) didn't germinate so I seeded some more red sails in it and it is up.

All in all the garden is getting to be an exciting place. In a few weeks there will be almost nothing left of my seedlings. Just my eggplant and maybe some germinating cucurbits.


  1. That harvest may be small, but it sure did compliment that dish very well! Everything's looking great, It's amazing what some warm temps will do for plants.

  2. Your spinach looks sooooo good! I wish mine had grown! I only have one poor plant this year - for some reason they didn't start from seed too well for me this year.

  3. I'm with you on holding off planting those tomato and pepper seeds for a couple of weeks. Well, especially the tomatoes. My tomato "seedlings" are beginning to look a bit stressed, but the two I put in buckets last week are looking great. I think I'm going to chance it and plant the rest of them this week. If they don't make it, I have backups....but those will be the less than perfect plants of the bunch.

    I know, I should have thinned sooner or planted the spinach farther apart. I'm always the one telling people to give their plants some space to breathe, then I went and did just the opposite! I did it so I could have the early thinnings to eat, then the darned things looked so good I didn't have the heart to disturb them ;-) Oh well, it's done now, and the babies have roo to grow.

  4. Glade to hear you found some seed potatoes. Your spinach is well ahead of mine, I don't have spinach envy though... :-) When did you start your peppers? They are huge!

  5. EG, I'm really shocked how fast the plant have grown in the heat. They have just shot up.

    Pam, that is why I chitted mine this year. I've had trouble with it in the past.

    Annie's Granny, I would so hate to lose my tomatoes, but I may have to get them into the ground anyway. If they outgrow the lights, there is no other solution. Then I'll hope for decent weather.

    Dan, yes the seed potatoes were a real saga. I started my peppers on March 16th. So they are exactly six weeks old. Their roots are coming out the bottom and the soil is filled with them. It is time to pot up or plant. I don't have room to pot them up, so I'm hoping to plant over the weekend. Only if the weather is good though. If it is predicted to be rainy and cold, I'll have to stress them out by keeping them in their too small pots.

  6. Looks yummy! Thanks for the spinach experiment. I will keep ruthless thinning in mind!

  7. Everything looks terrific! I wish my marigolds were that big- I think I need to start more too. Happy gardening to you, Daphne, and harvesting!

  8. Your seedlings (and pasta) look fantastic, Daphne! I am so impressed!!! I agree---this horrid heat has helped the snap and snow peas take off. And yes, I took a chance and planted my tomatoes out yesterday. I figure if worse comes to worst, I can always cover them...

  9. Best thing to do with thinnings! Looking good. If you can manage from seed indoors everything else is easy by comparison. We used to be good at this but both working more than full time has taken its toll.

    Seed potatoes should be in good supply at Seed Savers Exchange or Fedco. Also check Johnny's.

  10. Peggy your welcome. The experiment wasn't actually intended, but just kind of happened when I had extra seed an no place to put it.

    our friend Ben, I'm pretty sure our last frost is long gone. The problem with tomatoes here is if we get long stretches of cold wet weather. They get all diseased and die. The joy of a maritime climate.

    risa, I used to do a lot of seed starting when I was younger (and poorer). So far things are going pretty well as I relearn all that I forgot. I did find seed potatoes here. I'll post about it next week.

  11. i dont even want to know what our tally of profit to cost would be!

    everything looks so fresh and green.