Sunday, March 7, 2010

Seedling Update

The seed starting area seems to be working out very well:

I am starting the seedlings in soil blocks using recycled bakery and produce containers. Once seeded, the containers are placed on a heat mat on the top left shelf. When they sprout, the humidity dome is vented, and they are placed under lights. After a few days, the soil blocks are removed from the container and moved into one of the black flats and carefully labeled. One black flat fits on a shelf and each black flat can accommodate 50 soil blocks. These shelves can hold up to 200 soil blocks.

One thing I love about the soil blocks is they can be moved around and organized. If a block has failed to sprout, the seed can be scooped out and the block can be recycled.

I have added a second strip light to the bottom shelf because the plants were leaning a bit towards the center where the light was. The top shelf strip light was just added this week to accommodate the lettuce that is in the top right flat which sprouted this week.

I have lost a few seedlings here and there to damping off. I planted extras, so I am not too concerned yet. I have added a small fan for air circulation and began spraying the soil blocks with a chamomile tea once a day.

Here are a few seedling updates:

The onions are in need of their second haircut:

Spinach is forming its second leaves:

The Thyme seeds were several years old. I wasn't sure about their viability, so I planted a pinch in each soil block. It looks like they all sprouted:

Lettuce is all doing well. I have four varieties growing so far:

Parsley germination has been pretty spotty. Some have grown lanky as you can see in the background of the pic below. I have reseeded another batch just in case:

The Celery seeded on 2/21 have not sprouted yet. I have seeded another batch just in case. I have also seeded White Lisbon Bunching Onions, Fernleaf Dill, more Spinach and Lettuce. Soon I will be adding hoops to one of the Square Foot Gardens for some early spring planting.


  1. Everything is really looking good! Makes me more anxious to get mine started...only 8 more days!

  2. I just love all this planting!!! It's so much better than snow pictures. Spring is almost here!

  3. Looking excellent, GM !

    The temps have been good here recently but the last dump of snow means the beds are still covered at the moment. Will probably have to clear them to accelerate the process. I'd like to get a few hoops out there soon, too.

  4. I really like how you have put together your light set up. It seems like it is really serving you well too.

  5. Oh the little lettuce is just too cute. I so love baby plants.

  6. Everything looks great! A few of my weak onion seedlings damped off but luckily, that's been it so far. I try to run a fun for and hour or two every couple of days.

    I try to recycle some of my blocks too...depending on what I'm planning to sow in them. I multiseed all of my blocks and find it weird that most seeds sprout in some what none sprout in the others. This makes me think that there is something wrong with the block itself...worst scenario, they get recycled in the garden.

  7. Looking good GM, just wondering if the damp off happened while on the heat mats and under the humidity domes or after. John

  8. AG: I can’t wait to see your plants sprouting!

    Ribbit: I agree, gardening pics ARE much better than snow pics.

    Miss M: I wish my beds were still covered with snow. It offered a nice insulated cover. I think I lost my thyme since last week.

    kitsapFG: I think this setup is working well so far. The true test will come when I add the summer seeding such as tomatoes, peppers, and melons. Depending upon the weather, space may be a little tight.

    Daphne: I too thought the little lettuce was cute! Some are just beginning to show a bit of red spots too.

    Thomas: I am pretty frugal with my seeding, sometimes the blocks only get one seed. So if it doesn’t sprout within the expected time, I scoop it out and reseed. Usually the second attempt works.

    John: The few seedlings I have lost to damping off shriveled up or fell over after I removed them from the head mat and out from under the humidity dome.

  9. Looks good. Everything but the indigo and the pastel pansies sprouted right up this year. I am going to have to reseed. Time to pot some things up, I'm afraid.