Sunday, February 3, 2008

February 3, 2008

Super Bowl Sunday!  Unfortunately our beloved Seahawks didn't make it this year, but it should still be a fun game.  I've got several errands to run before 3 (joys of living on the west coast). Several of them are garden related.  I want to run to my local nursery to check on larger pots, preferably peat, to repot my broccoli and cauliflower, or maybe I'll just use styrofoam cups.  I'd have to buy those too because we're too "green" here to actually have those around the house. hehe I may need permission to actually buy them at the store.

Apparently the "second set of leaves" that they talk about getting before you repot are at the head.  I kept expecting to see off shoots mid-stem.  Live and learn.

So, after a day of research and probing questions on the internet yesterday, I received conflicting information on my seedlings.  One local guy said I needed lights (seconded by countless others on the Growing with Lights forum... go figure).  I even took a picture of the spot in my house I found for the light system...

I even started designing the area in the top foot or so of the cavity. I found an old shelf that just about fit and figured out how to make it work.  I was busy planning last night. 

But then I got more advice saying the complete opposite.  I didn't need to get lights, I didn't need to move them inside, in fact I should take a sunny day and put them outside for a few hours to start getting them acclimated to the weather outside.  Maybe when I'm at the local nursery, I'll see if they've got a master gardener there that I can ask.

Ok, forget the master gardener. I've got 150+ years of gardening experience in my family.  They just laughed and said, you're making a mountain out of a mole hill.  Just repot them and put them back on the window sill.  Everything will be fine.  Who am I to argue with experience? (Thanks Joytosew for being one of the first to suggest repotting, and you and Judy seem to REALLY like your tomatoes. You should really compare numbers and varieties.)

Boy, the SFG book never said anything remotely like how challenging starting seeds indoors could be.  Thank goodness for the internet and the various garden forums.  Can I just say that gardeners are some of the most helpful people on the planet?  I guess if they're competing for the county fair, they'll be secretive but otherwise, just ask, they'll help.  Very cool.

Another interesting tid bit I found out from multiple sources yesterday was that lettuce does not like to germinate in warmth.  So I should have put them out in the garage, so they're now sitting on the sunny window sill out there.  Maybe I need to move the onions out there too. They haven't sprouted either.

You know, in my research I found many people out there with indoor setups to grow a thousand seedlings at a time.  At the time I couldn't fathom growing that many. That's more than two or three of my gardens could handle.  I thought maybe they were farmers (or drug dealers, just kidding).  Now I just think they are hedging their bets.  There's a strong possibility that all my seedlings are going to fail.  That would be sad because I'd be behind the curve for transplanting outside, especially for broccoli and cauliflower that don't do well in the hot summer months.  Oh well, I guess I'd just have to break out the chicken wire and landscape fabric and make shade cages like the SFG book recommends.  Or maybe I'll set up one of my 4' window screens I salvaged from our window tear out.  We'll see.

Time to go run errands... then go watch the Super Bowl!  Oh, and if I sound confused today, it's because I am.  Don't worry, I'll be better.


Ok, I feel better now, the Patriots lost, so no perfect season, oh well, not my team, we lost to the Packers in a blizzard (we got made fools of is more like it, but this is about gardening). 

My mother convinced me I was making too much of this and just to repot the seedlings and keep them on the window sill.  So that's what I did. I got dirty. It was fun!  I have no idea if I did it right, but I used 9 oz. transparent plastic cups (all the store had for styrofoam was 16 oz. which was too big), and filled them with Mel's Mix.  Then I gingerly removed the seedlings with rubber gloves on, only touching the leaves, and held them in the partially filled cup, filling it the rest of the way around it.  I *BELIEVE* that the advice I've received for my leggy plants is to bury some of the stem so only an inch or less is above ground.  Anyway, all 16 of my broccoli and cauliflower got "potted up" as I guess they say, even if they were a little stumpy.  Frankly, if half of them survive, that will give me a good staggering of plantings so I can continually harvest broccoli and cauliflower throughout the season.  I have 8 of each and 8 SF devoted to each, so if all of them don't grow, then I'll just direct sow the rest once I've got dirt.   

You see, currently I am the only one in the family that eats these but my wife is excited to make macaroni and cheese with cauliflower in it and I just want to be able to cut off a few broccoli flowerets at a time for my meal. 

Let's hope my mother was right and sowing seeds indoors is not as complicated as the forums make it out to be.

No comments:

Post a Comment