Saturday, April 10, 2010

Weekly Update: Tomato and Pepper Seedlings are Growing

Our temperatures have returned to more seasonable levels mid 50s during the day, down to 30s at night:

EG’s germination method that I began last weekend was a complete success. By the end of the week, every tomato seed germinated. Each day I checked the containers for moisture and signs of radicles growing from the seeds. Once the radicle sprouted, the seed was carefully placed in a soil block, and lightly covered with seed starting mix. These soil blocks were kept on the heat mat until the first sprouts emerged, then they were placed under lights.

The Earl Girl Tomatoes are ready to grow their first true leaves:

I only wish I had used this method with the peppers too. I’ll know better next year. About half the peppers (seeded 3/28) have sprouted. I am still patiently waiting for the remainder.

I spent most of the morning rearranging the soil blocks once again. I needed a shelf under the lights for the newly sprouted tomatoes, peppers, and eggplant. It’s time to begin hardening off the parsley, some onions, Swiss chard, more spinach and lettuce. So these soil blocks were combined into one flat and a few smaller containers making it easier to carry in and out of the house:

The rest of the soil blocks were condensed into the remaining flats still under the lights.

Out in the garden, the spinach that was transplanted out last week has held up well with minimal protection:

There is a little yellowing on the bottom leaves of some of the youngest plants, but still more growth forming at the top. More spinach went out today. I wanted to plant out some lettuce too, but decided to wait another week or so because of the frost like temperatures predicted overnight for the next week.

The peas planted last week have begun sprouting:

We purchased some wire fencing and will be putting it up this weekend to keep Bradie and hopefully deer out of the garden:

Once the fence is up, I can determine the placement of the SWCs and begin building the four new 18 gallon SWCs that will be used for growing celery, broccoli, and tomatoes.


  1. Whoohoo for warmer temperatures!

  2. Your germination process is obviously really working well. My peppers are being painfully slow and uncooperative this year too. Actually they are like that almost every year for me.

    The fence should be a real asset. I have always had to put a fence around my garden to keep the critters out.

  3. Your weather looks like our weather, those night temps just won't come up and stay there. Your seedlings are looking good. My two days of being sick in bed made mine rather unhappy. Peppers drooping from thirst and tomatoes shooting up above the lights. Sick or no, I've been repotting tomatoes off and on today.

  4. Oh goody! I'm glad you liked the germination method, because it works sooooo good!

  5. Ribbit: We will take what we can get.

    KitsapFG: I am impressed with how this germination method worked. I am going to try it with Cilantro next. We had a small fence last year, but took it down last fall as we were planning on expanding the garden area this year. It’s mostly to keep out dog out of the garden.

    Granny: Nights are still so cold. Hopefully things will warm up in the next couple of weeks. I do hope you are feeling better soon. Poor plants need you.

    EG: Yes! Thank you so much for sharing this method. I am very pleased with the results.

  6. Our temps are expected to drop a bit this week as well. Good luck getting the fence up...never a fun least in my book. :)

  7. Thomas: K and I don't usually argue, but we did while we were putting the fence up. It was NOT fun. Now it is done and the garden is safe from one big yellow lab.

  8. I have a similar method. I use ziplocs though not plastic containers. It does work extremely well. I use it when I don't have a lot of seeds (this year it will be peppers and tomatoes). I also use it for prestarting things like spinach before planting them outside. Some year I want to try it on peas, but haven't yet.

  9. Daphne: I should try it for other seeds too. Spinach is rather difficult for me sometimes.

  10. Just wanted to stop by and say that I love your new blog template! -Jean

  11. Thanks Jean! It's still a work in progress.

  12. GM, I have never had any luck with peppers but this year I have lots of Hungarian Hot Yellow Wax and Sweets. One of the things I did was to soak the seed in water for a couple hours then put them in my seed block; finally I placed them in a container atop my heating pad (the one I use for my back) and they all came up! The heat was key.

    Have a wonderful weekend. I'm headed to the potting shed. ;)