Seed Starting—Part II

Seedlings, week four.

Since we got a first-day-of-spring snow storm yesterday and my veggie garden beds are still covered in a three-inch layer of ice, thought I’d give an update on my seed starting efforts. I started several flats of seeds three to four weeks ago, and overall, I am pleased with their growth thus far. A couple of notes:

1. Zinnias—100% germination and excellent growth. They have three sets of leaves and are two inches tall. I have thinned each container to a single plant.


2. Marigolds—98% germination and excellent growth. About one inch tall. I will be thinning these this weekend, as now I have two seedlings in each cell.


3. Herbs (Chives, Parsley, Basil, Cilantro)—100% germination and excellent growth so far. Will needed to be thinned soon.






4. Herbs (Dill)—While the seeds all sprouted, the plants are thin and floppy. They are successfully leafing out, but the stems are a weak, tangled mess. I will need to thin these plants, but I am concerned about their longevity and transplantability.

Dill. A floppy mess.

5. Sunflowers—100% germination. These are growing quickly and I have added wooden grill skewers to each cell to help support the six-inch stems. I will need to re-pot these in at least 4-inch pots by mid-April.


6. Morning Glories—90% germination. I should not have started these seeds so early. They are growing like weeds, and I had to untangle their climbing tendrils more than once. Now each has a 18-inch stake to climb, but I will need to re-pot each in a week or two, and add an additional climbing structure until I can plant them outside.


Morning glories

7. Nasturtiums—50% germination, which was disappointing. But the ones that sprouted are beautiful, so at least I have 10, six-inch plants with five leaves each.


8.Poppies—100% germination! Unbelievable. But these teeny, tiny seedlings are VERY delicate and even watering them with a mist sprayer is a challenge. Thank goodness they’re perennials—hopefully a few will survive to transplant time and adjust successfully to garden life so I’ll never have to deal with these seeds again.


9. Baptisia (false indigo)—ZERO germination. These are notoriously difficult to start from seed unless you plant fresh seeds in the fall. I may splurge and buy a couple of starter plants.

10. Tomatoes and peppers—I planted these two weeks ago and right now I have about 85% germination.

Tomatoes with seed casing still attached.

I also started more seeds two days ago: onions, broccoli, Brussels sprouts, cosmos, calendula, and sweet alyssum. I have run out of space under my grow lights, so as soon as these sprout I will have to adjust my indoor greenhouse and buy more lights. As far as the timing, I am a little late on the broccoli and a little early on the Brussels, and as far as the annuals, I am just guessing. Most instructions on annuals say to direct to sow in place after all danger of frost has past, but I have not had proficient growth rates when just tossing the seeds in the garden in previous years. I would like blooms as early as possible after the last frost, but I’m not sure about their growth rates, so this is an experiment. As I already mentioned, the morning glories will likely be climbing up my guest room wall soon!

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