Thursday, February 21, 2013

Here They Come!

It has been two weeks since I planted the first of my spring and summer vegetables. Every day, I gaze on these tiny plants watching, anticipating the harvest they will one day produce. But that is putting the horse before the cart. I have some caretaking to do before that vision is a reality.

I started out by planting my early spring crops: cauliflower, bok Choy, onions, broccoli, cabbage, and Brussels spouts. So far, they are doing very well!

Then I started my heirloom tomatoes and peppers. So far, they are doing remarkable well too! My germination success rate was phenomenal for my peppers; they all started! As for my tomatoes, most have germinated but those that didn't, I will plant again in the next few days (I'm trying to start plants for myself, my mom, and my I need more than one of each:-).

With all of this new life, I must remember to care for these seedlings if I want them to mature properly. It's sometimes easy to germinate seeds; it's another thing to nurse them to productive, adult plants. This is where I am at now.

Seedlings can easily become spindly and weak when started indoors because they aren't exposed to the elements. These external factors are what strengthen the plant and force it to adapt and survive. So, in order to accommodate for this factor, I have taken steps to mimic some of these missing aspects. Here is what I have done:

  1. I make sure the seedlings have adequate moisture and humidity. They shouldn't dry out and should have a semi-humid environment (I have the seed starting trays that come with a clear top. I cover the tray at night and vent it during the heat of the day.).
  2. I have a small indoor fan that I place near the seedlings to mimic the breeze. I will turn it on every-so-often to stress the plants. It forces them to release a chemical that strengthens their stems, creating stronger plants. If you don't have a fan you can turn on for a bit, simply tousling the seedlings every time you pass by helps tremendously! (I just run my hands trough them roughly, enough to make them fall back and forth but return to their original position)
  3. And, after two weeks, I have decided it was time to give these little guys a dose of vitamins! I gave them some very diluted worm fertilizer. Tomatoes, cabbages, lettuces, and other cruciferous vegetables thrive with nitrogen. Worm fertilizer and fish fertilizer are high in nitrogen so they are extremely beneficial to these new plants. Just make sure to dilute it...since these plants are so small, it is easy to burn them with nutrients.

As my tiny vegetables and fruits continue to grow, I will adapt and learn about their needs. I want to create very prolific plants for my spring and summer gardens! I can't wait to see what the next week brings!

Have you started any seeds indoors or in your greenhouse? How are they coming along? Please take a moment and's fun and so beneficial to us all!


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