Wednesday, March 30, 2011


Some of the seedlings are really getting big. The onions (Copra, Varsity, Redwing, and Alicia Craig) above were started on January 21st. So they are two months old. If the weather was like normal they would be getting planted right now. As it is they are getting hardened off on the back steps. I'll probably leave them there and just bring them in during the night. When they are under the lights upstairs I can only put the lights on for 12 hours a day. These are long day onions and I don't want them to start bulbing up. Usually I have my lights on about 15 hours a day, but I can't do that with onions. Sometimes I think I need one small separate spot for onions so I can have the correct length of light for all my plants.

One week ago


I have other onions growing under the lights, but they are bunching onions, planted March 10th. Also in this flat are my other slow growers like leeks, sweet alyssum, parsley, and celery. I like to plant all the slow growers in one flat so they don't overwhelm one another. It doesn't always happen that way, but I try. My alpine strawberries that have been in the freezer for two weeks will join them today. Their cold treatment is over and I hope they all germinate.

The lettuce has grown large as you can see. It was planted three weeks ago and is ready to go out if only the weather would cooperate. Not all the lettuce germinated. Some of the seed came from last years trials and I didn't have enough space to trial them all. Two packets never germinated. So I resowed. Now on the other side of this flat it is even more thick and tangled with Asian greens. And the resown lettuce was in the middle. That just wouldn't do as they were getting shaded from both sides. I moved the lettuce down to the way end of the flat and gave space between the brassicas and the newly planted lettuce. They are happier that way.

This is my most troublesome flat. It contains the chard. Chard never grows well under lights. It always seems unhappy. But it never grows well for me direct seeded either. So I grow really floppy chard for a few weeks until I can plant it out. The rest of the brassicas are growing pretty well. These were all planted on March 18th as was the flat below.

Here I'm trying to grow cumin. It is the large section of wispy small plants to the middle left. Last year I tried too, but the plants died from lack of water. It is hard to keep seedlings watered when it isn't at your own house (yet). After transferring houses and keeping remote gardens, I have so much respect for those that keep up Community gardens. Gardening out the back door is so easy. You can keep up with it and see how the plants grow. You can water seedlings every day when the heat is in the 90s. Also in this flat are some flowers and yet more brassicas.

And last but not least of my seedlings are my wintersown seedlings. I have six packs of these. The lettuce are the only ones that have germinated so far. I was so worried that the alpine strawberries wouldn't get enough cold before the weather turned warm. Ha ha. I guess mother nature wants my wintersown strawberries to start well. Yes I have two different batches of strawberries. The ones I'm trying to wintersow and the ones that went under the lights today. I figured if one way doesn't work for them the other will.


  1. So many edibles to come!
    I am relieved to hear that someone with as much experience as yourself has trouble with swiss chard too. Mine seems to have serious erectile dysfunction, I am also waiting anxiously to get them outside.

  2. It looks like you are going to have a lot of work planting all those out.

  3. Such beautiful and healthy looking seedlings. It's hard to believe that last year we were planting out at this time. I still have snow covering most of the yard and the parts of the garden that were not shoveled off. It's been too cold for a lot of melting.

    I am not looking forward to the next storm that is supposed to hit this weekend.

  4. Last year was the first time I seeded chard, it came out fantastic! I hope this year, it grows well too. Oh, and I directly seeded them out in the ground. All your seedlings look good. Hope you have a wonderful gardening season!

  5. I've had nothing but trouble with swiss chard too. I planted some seeds on Monday so I could try one more time. I figured if I got the kale to grow this year...maybe the swiss chard would come along too! :)

    Your seedlings look great!

  6. Now I don't know if I want to plant Swiss chard or not! I'm also contemplating making an entire flat of soil blocks for spinach, the earlier ones ended up doing quite well. Some were just much slower to germinate than others, but eventually most of them grew. I'm very close to being out of space for new seedlings, and both of my rope lights are in full use right now. Isn't it fun???!!!

  7. Everything looks good- if only the weather would cooperate! I know what you mean, we've had terrible wind. Our temps are going up though and the spinach and beets I planted out in the tunnel seem to be fine. I hope you're weather turns around so you can get those babies going!

  8. My Swiss chard does the same thing. Are those soil blocks you're using?

  9. ellie, I put the chard outside in the sun yesterday. Now it wants to stand up. Indoor lighting is probably just not strong enough for them. It doesn't matter though. They are fine once they get planted. I don't let them get too old before I do it.

    Cathy, I will.

    GrafixMuse, me either. Yesterday they were predicting 5" here. Now it looks like just a lot of rain with a touch of snow. Rain is OK we really need the rain.

    RandomGardener, yeah the chard likes being outside, but for some reason I could never direct sow it and get good plants. I had some weird insects I'm assuming at my last house. Certain families were very hard to grow there. I haven't tried here yet so don't know. I'm so used to growing under a row cover now. Never did for the chard. I probably should have tried it.

    Katrina, Luckily all my seedlings but one came up. I had to reseed that block.

    Granny, Plant it! Once it is started it is the easiest plant in the world to grow. Well OK the leaf miners have to be picked off every few days when they are in season. But besides that they are so productive and tasty. And yes very fun.

    Tessa, I wanted to put the rock dust down before I put the compost on my garden, but no luck. It was too windy. I'll have to put it on top when I get a chance.

  10. The weather has been a real pain hasn't it? It's looking like next week might be more normal though. My chard is flopping like yours and the rest of my brassicas are ready to be planted out. Hopefully we'll both be out planting next week.

  11. Last year I started onions indoors (Copra and a Spanish Gold) under the lights for 15 hr/day and they had fallen over by mid-July. They produced small to medium size bulbs, so what you're saying about the day length makes sense. This year after they germinated I put them in the cold frame for a normal daylength but they are still puny. It looks like the weather is warming so here's hoping they can do some growing.

  12. So many healthy seedlings ready to be transplanted if the weather can just warm up soon and no frost.

  13. Veggie Pak, yes I use soil blocks for my transplants. I hate the plastic six packs.

    The Mom, I hope it is warmer. I've seen such varied forecasts that I just don't know what to think. I'm getting my peas in regardless though.

    gardenvariety-hoosier, yes that would get them to bulb up prematurely. Onions come in many types. There are long day onions for northerners which bulb up at 14-15 hours and short day onions for the south which bulbs up at a day length of 12-14 hours. My townhouse mates brought some onions up from Alabama when they visited and I warned her if they were short day onions they wouldn't get very big. They will start bulbing up very soon in our spring. Onion seedlings are hard to grow. I have trouble most years growing them. This year they are doing so well though. I haven't a clue what I did differently. Maybe I just let them grow longer inside. Usually I kick them out very early because I want the lights on longer.

    Malay, Well my average last frost day is May 1st or something like that. It is a long way until then, but most of these are hardy and can be planted in a week or two under a row cover. I'm not waiting until the last frost to plant them. I haven't even started my warm weather crops yet. I will do that this weekend though.

  14. Swiss chard is always floppy for me too (as are my cabbages and broccolli to some degree too) but all of them do just wonderfully despite that and go into the soil deeper when planted out and then they are off to the races! I have two six packs of chard hardening off right now and the plants are seriously outgrowing their starter cells and want to lay over. I will be glad to get them in the ground on Saturday so they can stand upright again!

  15. Wow I love how many seedlings you have. It seems that your harvest will be indeed bountiful. I have to go find some more containers!