Posts Tagged ‘seedlings’

Potting Up the Seedlings

In yesterday’s post I showed some of the crowded seedlings that I have growing in my seed starting area under lights.  [In 2009.  In 2011.]

Below I have transplanted a group of purple cabbage and am in the process of splitting up bell pepper siblings:

Hardening off the broccoli

Blurry camera phone picture:

Here are 63 broccoli young’ins, inside the plastic greenhouse shelf thing that R. gave me for Christmas in late 2008. Unfortunately the cloth used in the zipper has badly deteriorated after only six months outside last summer, so this will probably be the last year I can use this as a greenhouse. I spent an hour or so last night potting up another 36 seedlings.

The whole unit is resting in the shade of my back porch awning while the plants get used to the daily temperature swings outdoors for a little while. When I do finally move them to the sun I need to make sure they don’t get TOO hot by checking on them at noon every day. A bright sunny day could have temperatures inside the plastic building up to 100+, followed by nightly lows in the high 20s (F). The plants probably wouldn’t appreciate such extremes.

Tonight’s low is forecast to be 24 degrees, so I’ll put a few gallon jugs of warm/hot water in there with the plants and zip them up tight.  I might even give them a blanket for the night.

Thompson Broccoli seedlings

Here are half of my broccoli seedlings.  I am growing Thompson seeds this year.  I must admit that I feel a bit nervous planting all one variety, but that’s what I did.  We’ll see if I will learn this lesson the hard way.  Monoculture?  I’m so bad.

The 72 plants I started will be planted pretty close together.  Not quite one per square foot, but about 14 inches square for each one.  I harvest one head from each broccoli, and then pull them out to put green beans in the same space on about June 15.

Each of these will be potted up once into a 4 inch pot , hardened off to grow outdoors a bit (I don’t have enough room or light inside…I save my space for my tomatoes) and then of course planted out in the garden!

Potting up Tomatoes (first seedling transplant)

Tomatoes have big long roots and grow very quickly from seed indoors.  A few weeks after planting tomato seeds, while it’s still way too cold outside for tomato plants, they need more room.  I like to pot mine up into half-gallon milk cartons because they are so deep.  Here are some photos and notes of my process:

 

When seedlings have a couple sets of true leaves, I pot them up into something bigger.

When seedlings have a couple sets of true leaves, I pot them up into something bigger.

 

My container of choice is a tall waxed paper half gallon milk carton.

My container of choice is a tall waxed paper half gallon milk carton.

 

Carefully remove the seedling from it's planting cell and then . . .

Carefully remove the seedling from it's planting cell and then . . .

Pinch off the seed leaves.  This part of the stem ends up under the dirt.

Pinch off the seed leaves. This part of the stem ends up under the dirt.

 

Pot the seedling as deep as possible.  Tomatoes will grow new roots along the buried portion of stem.

Pot the seedling as deep as possible. Tomatoes will grow new roots along the buried portion of stem.

I probably could have gone even deeper when repotting this tomato seedling.

I probably could have gone even deeper when repotting this tomato seedling.

 

Firm up the dirt a bit.

Firm up the dirt a bit.

 

Over half the height of the seedling is buried now.

Over half the height of the seedling is buried now.

 

This container will be enough growing room for 3 to 4 more weeks.  Hopefully the next transplant will be to the garden.

This container will be enough growing room for 3 to 4 more weeks. Hopefully the next transplant will be to the garden.

Any questions?  I’d love to get your comments.

Zone 5 Greenhouse New Year update

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The radish seeds I sowed in the greenhouse in a pot on December 5th started to show their heads last week.  Yesterday many had come up!

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There were several consecutive nights of 0 degree weather outside (in degrees fahrenheit, 32 below freezing), and the greenhouse got as cold as 19 by morning once, but the radishes seem to be doing well!

Shortly I’ll be moving some other seedlings out there…things I started inside under my grow lights. I could keep them inside and just grow them under the lights, but this is an experiment after all!  I want to see what works!

I’ll be VERY happy to start some Kale seeds this week!  Thanks very much to Robin for sending me those!  I owe you!

Starting from seed

I planted seeds on March 5 through the 10th and a few more sporadically after that.  On March 17th, this is what my seedling table looked like under the hanging lights.

Seeding table 12 days after planting

The thing you want to do is keep the lights hung only one or two inches above the plants, even if that means moving them up a fraction every night when you check on them.  If the lights are more than 2 inches above the plants, the plants will grow taller to let the leaves reach the light better.  If they get leggy like that they won’t have the strength to hold themselves up, especially when you eventually transplant them outside where the wind blows.

Seedlings in cups

At times, I had some plants growing faster than others, so I just let the fixture hang higher on one end and rearranged the cups underneath based on height.

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