Despite the three inches of snow that fell yesterday we are moving forward with seed starting indoors.  My plant stand which holds eight 11″ X 22″ trays is at half capacity.  I’ve got an entire tray (72 cells) of healthy leek seedlings that are about seven weeks old.  In addition I have a tray full of lettuce, kale, cabbage and broccoli seedlings that are almost ready for transplant out to the garden.  Given the current weather, I will hold back on hardening them off until sometime next week.

A TRAY OF LEEK SEEDLINGS APPROXIMATELY SEVEN WEEKS OLD

A TRAY OF LEEK SEEDLINGS APPROXIMATELY SEVEN WEEKS OLD

LEAF CROPS GROWING IN 2" SOIL BLOCKS

CABBAGE, KALE, AND BROCCOLI NEARLY READY FOR TRANSPLANTING TO THE GARDEN

On March 20, I started some flower and herb seeds for my wife in a 20 row seeder.  She is trying some antique varieties this year including, “Midnight Candy” phlox, Basket Flower and Tassel Flower.  In addition, I started some Cosmos seeds and some parsley.

This past Sunday, I started another batch of leaf crop seeds in 3/4″ soil blocks:
Black Seeded Simpson Lettuce
Snow Crown Cauliflower
Galia curly endive
Little Gem romaine lettuce

I also planted “Mars” celeriac, bulb fennel and our first tomatoes, an ultra early variety called “Glacier.

THE MOST RECENT BATCH OF SEEDS STARTED IN SOIL BLOCKS

THE MOST RECENT BATCH OF SEEDS STARTED IN SOIL BLOCKS

Because the seeds are so large, I started the bulb fennel in two inch soil blocks using the shallow nipples (see photo below).  The tomatoes were started in a four pack with 3 seeds in each cell.

2" SOIL BLOCK MAKER WITH SHALLOW NIPPLES

2″ SOIL BLOCK MAKER WITH SHALLOW NIPPLES

Before the snow storm, the peas planted in the garden on March 9 were just beginning to pop up.  This minor setback shouldn’t hurt them.  However, the snow is making me a bit cranky.  I’ll get over it.

In a couple of weeks, the plant stand will be at capacity.  This Saturday, I will start a tray full of pepper seedlings, both sweet and hot; as well as eggplant seeds.  I put the tray on a heat mat to enhance germination.  One caution: make sure that you are able to remove the eggplant seedlings from the heat as soon as they emerge.  Otherwise they will too leggy real fast.  Painful experience is a good teacher.

I will start tomato seeds the following Saturday along with more flower seeds and basil.  All of these seeds will be started in 20 row seeders.  I like using these seed trays because I can fit over 200 seeds in each tray; each seed spaced out about one inch apart.  I love this time of year.  Full contact gardening is right around the  corner.

All the best,

Greg Garnache