1 week ago I sowed my sweet peppers, and last night I sowed my eggplants. They are in seed starting trays with Burpee seed starting mix. No germinators yet... the peppers should come up in the next few days. Next week I will start tomatoes and basil and that should just about wrap it up for the indoor starts this Spring! I am aiming for an early May 8th plant-out date for the peppers, eggplants, and tomatoes, and have plastic warming the soil and am prepared to provide cover.
As I wasn't thrilled with the Nature's Care Potting Mix this year, I went to a garden center and bought Espoma Potting Mix, and am looking forward to trying it.
My first sowing onions and leeks started getting some yellowing, especially at the tips. I trimmed them up and gave them some low-strength Miracle Grow, and they are sending up healthy 3rd leaves, while the 1st leaf is not looking good. Maybe overwatering, lack of nutrition, conditions indoors, I am not sure -- but I anticipate all these leaves will probably wither after transplanting anyway, it is the bulb area and the roots where it counts. I have started hardening off and was considering planting them today, but they really still aren't ready, I will wait another week. The leeks and second onion sowing are looking good but growing slow.
This is my first artichoke sowing, I will look to start hardening off and vernalizing next week, and my second sowing that are still cotyledons I think I am going to try putting in the refrigerator to vernalize -- yep, the whole plant! I will report back my results! Without sufficient cold exposure, artichokes will not produce buds in the early summer, though they might in the Fall. These are Imperial Star Artichokes which require little vernalization time. The second sowing done in seed starting mix came out all with "helmet heads" -- the seed coat was stuck to the sprout - and I will stick to starting these in potting mix in the future.
The onions are doing well. The seed leaves have yellowed and then shriveled. They still look like they have quite a ways to go, but they weren't intended to be planted for another month. The leeks on the other hand (on the right, Megaton) are much less vigorous.
Only 2 out of the 7 artichokes I planted (02/14/2016) had germinated. They came up in about a week. They are really small compared to last year, I am not sure what to make of it. I do not think the cotyledons are going to grow any more. I almost immediately transplanted them to solo cups, as I learned last year that they have a large, rapidly growing taproot and need a lot of root space, and in addition they do not transplant well and sulk for a while after transplanting. I planted the rest of the seed I had as a backup and maybe to get more plants and they have not germinated yet.
Yesterday one of the four Numex Suave habaneros I planted (02/14/2016) finally peeked its head out. It took forever, not only for them to germinate, but once the stem started peeking it took many days for the cotyledon leaves to come up above the soil, even with supplemental heat (I had them on a radiator and later got out a heating pad.) Luckily, I only really want one of these guys, but sowed some backup ones just in case.
I am not really happy with the Nature's Care potting mix for seed starting, it did great last year but this year it seems more dense and rich and not good for germinated seeds, it is primarily peat and compost. I went out and bought some of Burpee's Seed Starting mix, which is primarily made with coconut coir, with perlite and very little nutrition. I am hoping for much better luck germinating in this lighter mix.
Below I have some cauliflower seedlings, they also had trouble pushing through the mix. In the front I have started Green Magic broccoli and Hestia brussels sprouts in the new mix. The Hestia sprouts are new this year, and supposedly heat tolerant and I am excited to try for some late Spring sprouts! I will also be starting Quickstart cabbage, but since this sulked last year in cold soil and did great in the summer, I will wait to start them.
Since the weather has been so mild, I also sowed a few Sun King broccoli seeds I bought a couple years ago and have not grown, just to see what happens.
Next week I will sow my sweet peppers. Even in this warm weather it is very bad to rush the heat loving plants. Better to be too late than too soon, or you could wind up with unhappy rootbound transplants. The habaneros and most hot peppers are super slow growing (or so I read, this is my first year growing them), so I am not as concerned.
About this site
My name is Peter and I am a gardener in the Lower Hudson Valley. This is my third year growing a very large garden, from seed. This is my journal.