Seedling counting, part one

March 23, 2011 at 1:07 pm (Uncategorized) (, )

So, on the 8th I started a tray of 50 little cells of starting mix, with various cool weather early-starters. Two days ago, I started another tray of 50, plus a bit, of herbs, warm weather plants, and a bit more for cool weather, and it’s time to log the successes and failures of the first round while I wait eagerly for number two.

In the first tray (planted 3-08-11):
-5 cells of ‘rainbow’ chard – I planted this with 2-3 seeds per, knowing they were old seeds that had not been properly stored. I still only managed 3 sturdy seedlings (okay, I think there are 6 germinated, but they are in three cells, and in two of those, it’s pretty clear which is the stronger baby). First germination spotted 3-14.
-5 cells of cabbage, early jersey wakefield variety – planted as 2 seeds per, which may have been an error. 90% germination, so I’m going to have to play godlette with scissors pretty soon. They’re beautiful little plants, just now starting to show first true leaves. First germination spotted 3-12.
-10 cells onion, sturon (yellow bulbing onion) – 1 seed per, 90% germination, though I may loose a couple to them just pulling themselves right on out of the soil when the leaves unfold. First germination spotted 3-15
-15 cells onion, red of florence (red oblong small bulbing onion) – 1 seed per, better than 90% germination, with 14 growing seedlings, though similar problems with the other onions with regards to the seedlings staying seated after sprouting. As per package instructions, this variety was surface sown instead of lightly covered. First germination spotted 3-13.
-15 cells onion, evergreen bunching white (scallion) – 1 seed per, same germination rate and problems as the red onion. First germination spotted 3-13.

Overall, I’m pretty pleased. Good germination rate, the majority of the seedlings are looking pretty good so far, and the grow light seems to be doing it’s job, since the cabbage seedlings are a vibrant green and working hard at putting out true leaves.

The second flat was planted on Monday, 3-21. Germination rates/dates will have to wait, but here’s what I’ve got going, if all goes well:
-5 cells chives (common) – 1 seed per. These will likely become container chives, though if I get enough healthy seedlings, one may get a spot in the garden bed proper.
-5 cells sage – 2 seeds per, as these and the next two herb varieties are being planted from old cheap seed packets, which is also my excuse for the major overplanting of the other varieties. Well, that and I can always just eat any that I can’t find a place to plant out. 🙂
-10 cells sweet basil – 2 seeds per. Because I found that yes, frozen pesto is very handy, and I’ve got a lot of tomatoes planned, and I have some herb pots to fill.
-10 cells thyme (common) – ummm…2-5 seeds per? I know I’ve started thyme from seed before, but it was a few years ago, and I’d completely forgotten how blasted tiny the things are. Those were basically surface sown, as well.
-5 cells cabbage, early jersey wakefield variety – 1 seed per, this time, given the germination rate from the last batch. This is the only cabbage I’m planning this year, but I love cabbage, and this is a pretty small head when mature.
-5 cells chard, rainbow – 2 seeds per. Trying for another 2-3 plants, so I can have a decent chard patch in the garden this summer.
-5 cells tomato, yellow pear – 1 seed per, largely because I don’t need (or really have space for) 5 plants of this, so if they all come up and thrive, I’ll have to find takers for them or sacrifice them, unless I can scrape up money for another bed or more pots.
-5 cells tomato, black krim – 1 seed per. This is entirely an experiment, here. I’ve never tried this variety of tomato in person, but I find it fascinating for some unknown reason, and I wanted to try growing one type of full-sized tomato from seed, so this got nominated. Again, may have to give away extras if they all thrive.

Not in the tray, but in individual pots in another greenhouse tray, are 4 pots of black beauty eggplant, 2 seeds per pot. Hoping for a couple for my container garden, and a couple for the garden beds.

Yeesh. That’s a lot of plants. But so much cheaper than trying to buy even a fraction that many ready-grown. If most of these, plus a few others I have planned for the next week or two, make it to adult-plant status, the grow light may have basically paid for itself with one season. I’ll do the math on that soon. (Oh, right. Need to post grow light plans. I’d say to remind me, but I don’t think anyone else is reading right now. 😛 )

In the container garden department, the parsley (planted, um, quite a while ago?) still hasn’t sprouted, but I expected that. I planted it so early so that it would come up when it was ready – I’m not protecting it from our weather at all. Yesterday I added two more containers to the ‘no, really, there’s something in that pot of dirt’ list, by putting mesclun mix seeds into our rectangular planter, and calendula (‘orange porcupine’) into one of the mid-sized plastic pots leftover from my attempt at tomatoes 2 years back.

Cucumbers and a squash or three will be started within the next couple of weeks under the grow light. Everything else is on hold until the garden beds are fully installed, for direct seeding. We’re almost there! The cedar planks were purchased Monday, the brackets were installed, and the beds assembled. I need to rearrange the piles that were last fall’s attempt at raised beds, then get some help making large quantities of planting medium appear on my property. Hopefully I’ll be able to call that done within a week, and get the early spring sowing done, in a mix of on-schedule and not-too-terribly-late.

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