Monday, April 13, 2009

Monday Seedling Update

Last night we got our predicted freeze. The ground was quite frozen under my feet. Since we had gotten a rain right before the cold weather the ground was saturated and made beautiful crystals. The photo may be deceptive as the crystals are just under 3" tall. My plants seemed to have survived the experience. There is a reason I have a garden covered in plastic and remay in the spring. If you want to push your seasons, you have to protect the poor plants.

Certain plants like my onions and leeks are fine with this kind of weather. I'm thinking the spinach is too. I have two sections of spinach. One is unprotected (just to see how it will do) and the main part is covered in remay. The unprotected spinach has frozen ground under its feet, but seems to be happy enough with it. It is growing slower than my protected patch. That patch has spinach that is already starting to put out its first true leaves. I have images of spinach salad dancing in my head, but I've got to be careful about expectations since spinach hasn't like me in the past.

The section I was most worried about, my brassicas, have weathered the freeze just fine. They had the soda bottles laid out next to the plants. The water in the bottles are not even frozen and the ground is still much warmer than any of the other beds. Success. Though it is possible to get another freeze, it is unusual for us in the latter half of April. Light frosts are more prevalent.

Today it is sunny and more moderate. The wind is really kicking up. I've brought out the above plants to start hardening off. I'm not sure exactly when I need to plant these out, but real sun can't hurt. I'll plant the chard soon since it has been hardening off for a few days. The rest need to be planted after our last frost or under protection.

I still have lots of seedlings under the lights. My favorite right now are my pepper plants. They looks so pretty. I really have to pot them up sometimes this week. After that the lights will start getting crowded.

The tomatoes have had almost a 100% germination except for Gregory's Altai, a large beefsteak of Siberian origin producing at 67 days. It didn't germinate at all. So I reseeded. It still hasn't come up. Sigh. I knew a large early beefsteak was too good to be true. If I don't see germination by tomorrow I might just try to paper towel sprout all the seed. These are seeds from They were free. All of their others came up fine. But they only send 10 seeds. If they don't sprout at all maybe I'll replace it with one of the extra seedlings. Maybe Miracle of the Market.

Besides tomatoes in the above container (I have a whole other container filled with just tomatoes, but I needed more room), I have basil popping up. Four plants of Italian basil and one of lemon basil. The empty blocks are my tomatillos. I was getting concerned that they hadn't germinated, but sometimes they can take a couple of weeks. This morning I see a tiny little stem of one plant just poking though the soil. So maybe in the next couple of days the rest will come out. I hope, or I'll have to reseed that too.

I haven't shown my lettuces or my parsley, but they are up. My lettuce had germination issues with the first round. Neither the Australian Yellow Leaf or the Dear Tongue came up, so I reseeded rather heavily. All of the second batch of seed germinated. Of course. Put four seeds in one block and everything comes up. It makes it hard to thin, but I'll take it.


  1. Your seedlings are looking nice and strong, Daphne. I'm afraid some of my free tomato seeds aren't true to their named varieties, so I expect some surprises this year. I did get pretty good germination, though. All grew into strong seedlings, with the exception of Marglobe, which I had planned to use for my multiple planting of determinates. Now I'll just use a mixed variety along the fence. I'm loving my pepper plants, but Purple Beauty only gave me two puny seedlings out of 10 or 12 seeds. That one is my only disappointment of five varieties.

  2. I can’t wait to see your garden during the summer. You have a lot of work ahead of you, (the fun kind) good luck

  3. Your seedlings look great, Daphne. You didn't mean that the frost spears were three FEET did you? I want to see a better photo if that is true! My tomatoes were under remay when we had a light frost last week and got zapped, they were so large, but there seems to be new green growth at the base. I don't want to start over with them. The peppers under the cloth right next to the tomatoes were fine. The stuff under the glass shower door cold frame, also fine except where the leaves touched the glass. I am using milk gallon jugs filled with water for protection. It seems to help too. We are after our last frost date, but Wednesday may be another light frost so stuff needs to stay covered. Hope your frosts are done too.

  4. Annie's Granny, I wonder if I'll get any interesting tomato surprises. As long as they produce it is kind of fun.

    Rusty, I can't wait either. And yes lots and lots of fun work.

    Frances, whoops. Nope I meant inches. I fixed that. LOL that would be a really tall spike of ice. I'm pretty sure we will get a frost tonight, but not another freeze. Even if we do it is fine. I'm not going to plant out the chard until tomorrow so it won't have to endure a frost on its first night out.

  5. Its been cold here to but it look like Weds on it will be warm again. Your peppers are still looking very nice. My peppers last year barely grew at all indoors but this year they are all growing great, kind of strange. The basil seed leaves are so cool looking.

    I hope the second seeding of the lettuce goes better. I have seeded the deer tongue and it germinated very well. I have not tried the yellow leaf yet so I can't comment on that one. I should really plant some soon, like tomorrow.

  6. Your seedings are doing very well Daphne.

  7. What nice looking seedlings! Keep 'em the heck away from my garden if you want them to grow. I worry that even looking at photos of them on your blog might be enough for my bad luck to waft over to you... maybe I'll stay away until yours are doing well. LOL.

  8. Dan, Well every last one of the seeds from the second seeding came up for both of them. So who knows why the first couple didn't come up. It was just two seeds of each. I might have been weirdly unlucky. The little seedlings seem to be healthy and thriving.

    perennialgardner, thanks

    Kate and Crew, What you looked at them? Oh no. LOL nah I think I'm fine.

  9. They look big already! That chard, mmmmm, yum!
    I had 100% germination for all my tomatoes except for the Ida Gold: nothing. I'm thinking a mouse ate them? Seeds rotted? Will resow this evening. Also bad luck with Peppers, but I know, I should be more patient with those.
    I love seeing how everyone else is doing!