Sunday, February 27, 2011

Seed Starting Progress

My seed-starting schedule is in full swing with a little something scheduled to sow each weekend. It is getting crowded under the lights:

Seedling Shelves in the Basement

Lettuce, Spinach, and various herbs are growing on the top shelves:

Lettuce, Oregano, Basil, & Cilantro

Spinach & Lettuce Mix

Most of the herbs will move upstairs soon to continue growing on a sunny kitchen windowsill.

Although we have been enjoying a few salad clippings from the Lettuce and Spinach each week, some have already begun to bolt and I expect the rest to bolt soon as well. It may be too warm for them even in the basement.

The Onion seedlings were started in early January. They are growing really well. I clip them each week and we enjoy the mild tasting Onion clippings in salads, as pizza topping, omelets, etc.

Onion Seedlings Under the Lights

Onion Seedlings

Parsley was seeded on 2/10 and only a few seeds have germinated so far (sigh):

Flat Leaf Parsley

Flat Leaf Parsley

Some early Swiss Chard was also planted on 2/10. These will be grown in a pot that can be taken inside on really cold nights. More Swiss Chard will be planted at a later date to be grown in the garden.

Swiss Chard

Two types of Spinach was sown last weekend into a full flat of soil blocks. Last spring most of my Spinach bolted prematurely because of the unusually warm weather we experienced. This year, I am trying Space Spinach, which is supposed to be more bolt resistant along with Tyee Spinach.


Celery was also planted last weekend, but has not germinated yet.

This weekend, I seeded some Chinese Cabbage and Pak Choi.

Last week there was still 2-feet of snow on the ground. I could just barely see the hump in the snow of outlining the 2-foot fence surrounding the garden. This weekend’s snow has added another foot. It feels like spring is a long, long ways away. For now, I must be content with tending to my seedlings.


  1. Boy, your top shelf is definitely crowded!! Since you think the lettuce and spinach is going to bolt soon....I think that you should just eat it!! Boy that would be good!!

    I don't which is slower...celery or parsley. They both seem to take forever to germinate. Enjoy tending to your seedlings :)

  2. So many little seedlings. I think I'm waiting to start my seeds until my NOFA order comes in. I have a lot of soil for starting seeds in that one and I'm all out right now. I've got two weeks to wait. Hopefully my celery will still get big enough to harvest.

  3. I'm with Robin! Eat that lettuce and spinach! It looks great and if it really is in danger of bolting I would put it to use first. :D

    I repotted the first of my tomato seedlings yesterday (the super early started ones). The first potting up is always the most tricky as the plants are still quite tender and are easily damaged in the process. I tried to be extra careful and hopefully I will not lose many.

  4. Oh my, I am so LOVING your grow light setup! I have to show the hubs, I want to create a setup for next year! I'll have to use yours for inspiration. It's lovely! PS, your Onions look Amazing.

  5. Robin: Don’t worry the lettuce will not go to waste. I have been watching it closely and it will be harvested before it bolts. The leaves are so tender that they need to be eaten quickly or they will wilt. Most of the spinach was harvested after the pictures were taken. I am trying to be patient with the celery and parsley.

    Daphne: I did start some seedlings early to test some seeds and have some fresh herbs, lettuce, and spinach. I don’t expect these to be planted into the garden. Onions were started way early because I wanted to be sure the 1-year old seeds would grow. If not, then I would have needed to add them to my seed order. Turns out they are doing fine.

    Laura (kitsapFG): I will definitely eat the lettuce and spinach before it bolts. I’ve been watching it carefully. Most of the spinach was added to a pasta dish we had for tonight’s dinner.

    I hope your tomatoes are ok after potting up. I have always had a difficult time getting young tomato transplant out of their cell pack to transplant. Potting up the tomatoes last year was so easy with soil blocks. I just filled the pot up halfway with potting mix, placed the soil block in, carefully filled in the sides and top with potting mix, firmed in, and watered. The tomatoes simply continued to grow, as there was no transplant shock to adjust to. When it was time to transplant to the garden, the seedlings were stronger and could handle a little jostling to get them out of the pots and into the ground.

    Meemsnyc: The seed starting area worked really well for me last year. I fear that space may be a little tight this year and I may build on to this by purchasing additional units. I can move this setup to the floor and stack the new shelves on top. There is more information on this setup here: Seed Starting Area. I ended up using two 48-inch shop light strips per shelf.

  6. I really need to get me a soil block maker next year. I think I may ask for a good one for my birthday (fall) or Christmas. By the way, I forgot to mention it in my first comment, but you should be really proud of those onion seedlings. They look absolutely fabulous.

  7. Laura (kitsapFG): Thanks for the compliment on the onions :) I really think the soil block maker was a good investment and yes it would make a great gift!

  8. I have found that if you soak parsley seeds overnight, then use the paper towel method for sprouting, they germinate pretty quickly. Still irregular, but they do sprout much more quickly.

  9. Wow, you've got an indoor garden going! Truly impressive....

  10. sb158: I did soak the parsley seeds, but probably should have tried the paper towel method. I am going to give these some more time, but may try this. Thanks!

    EG: Thanks! It is nice to have some fresh greens.