Wednesday, March 24, 2010

The Slacker is Back (and it's Seed Starting Time!!)

First of all, my apologies for the hiatus. I didn't do much outdoors this winter and found myself with very little to post about. It will probably take me a bit to get back into the swing of things but I'll try to be better!

I'll also admit, I am a bit slow with this post as well. I was thinking of you all and I did take pictures and I was thinking about my blog but alas, I was sidetracked. I also discovered I never re-installed my photo software when my hard drive crashed in December and I don't seem to be able to get it reload from the disk, grrr...

I finally downloaded Picasa so I'm at least semi-functional photo-wise (but I'm still annoyed about the other software).

Anyway... I'd like to show you my high-tech germinating set-up.

Spiffy eh?
The TV puts out enough heat to keep the seeds a little warmer than room temperature.

My lack of success with pepper germination last year led me to a better setup for those this year.

I have an old heating pad that my husband used so much over the years the "high" setting no longer works. Medium seems to do a good job keeping things at 75-80 degrees in the box though. The Rubbermaid box protects the pad from any moisture and a piece of plastic wrap keeps the humidity high in the box. One tray (those are Oreo trays just in case you wondered) has 3 types of onion seeds, thickly sown as they were older seeds and I was unsure of their viability. The other tray has pepper seeds. I planted 5 in each row. One row has Sweet Banana and the other two have Sweet Mixed Pimiento Dulce, also leftovers from last year. With the bottom heat I had germination in about 10 days or so. About 2/3 of the peppers have sprouted so far.

There are also some squash or cukes filling in the rest of the heated space. The tomatoes & the rest of the cucurbits were in the cooler box over the TV. Most ended up rotating into the warm box at some point but were doing well in the cooler box. My OOPS on this (also read "lack of planning or paying attention") is the fact that I STARTED the cucurbits. I will probably wish I had waited on those as they may be huge by the time they can go out. Oh well...

This feisty little Spaghetti Squash (Small Wonder), like some of it's companions, actually had a root coming out of the bottom of the peat pot about as soon as it sprouted. The cotyledons aren't even completely open yet.

I am anxiously awaiting fresh salad season. We haven't had a lot of warm days yet for planting outdoors (matter of fact, right now, my garden is completely covered by several inches of snow!). I decided to try an experiment. Using the "rooting box" that I retrieved from the front porch, I pretty thickly sowed Mesclun seeds (from 2008). It was fast and easy since it was already filled with seed starting medium. I gave the pots a little cleaning and added a little fresh medium and planted. I put the cover on the box (propped open slightly) and set it on the living room floor for about 4 days, until the seeds germinated.

Once I had sprouts, I moved it to the basement. It sits in a sunny, south facing window. The basement is heated somewhat but is very cool (it's unfinished space). When I check on the lettuce, I just look out the window into the cold snowy garden. It makes me think this might be a good idea! So far, they're doing quite well though the little cat keeps stepping on them. She's pretty sure the water in the pots is for her drinking pleasure.

Speaking of the little cat, here they are catching a little sunbeam in the morning sun last week. As they get older, they really seem to enjoy following the sunbeam through the house. I find the gray one laying in random spots around the house, like in the closet doorway, on the bedroom floor, on the stairs...
Annie & Gabby
So, there's the beginning of my catch-up posting. I'll be back again soon!!
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