Tuesday, February 16, 2016

Planting The Seed

Today is the day that I plant the leeks.  Leeks are 100 days to maturity (after transplanting to the garden) and must be planted early.  Last week would have been better, but the seed came in the mail late.  By plant I do not mean I went out in the garden and planted them under the 12" of snow that remains in my back yard.  No, I planted them in a flat of individual two inch plugs.  The seed requires warm temperatures in order to germinate.  Even though it got into the 50's today, it is not warm enough to plant anything outdoors.  This is a flat with 50 plugs to plant in:

I had to find the equipment and soil outside in the shed.  That was not an easy job since I put the potting stuff in the back of the shed and then filled up the whole shed last fall.  It required moving chicken bedding, gates, tables and squeezing into the little aisle that was opened up to reach the trays.  I did it twice because the bottoms trays that I brought into the house had little holes in them and leaked the water out all over my counter.  That is not good, and I had to go back into the shed to get better trays.  I water the plants from the bottom until the seedlings are established. The tray underneath must be without holes so it can be filled with water for the top tray to soak up the water.  

I start the first seedlings in the house because they must not freeze.  In fact, they need to be around 75 degrees for the first week in order to germinate faster then maintain that temperature until time to go outside.  

My soil was outside, too, so it had to thaw out before I could fill the trays.  I had some Hyponex Potting Soil left over from last summer.  It won't last long so I will have to go looking for more soon.

The first two rows are planted with leeks--two seeds in a plug. That will be 20 plus leeks.  I can pull the extra seedlings if both seeds sprout and would have way to many leeks.  This is new seed so they will all sprout.  If anyone would like some of the extra let me know.  (I cannot just throw them away.  Too wasteful.)

After filling the plugs to overflowing I push the soil down slightly with my fingers or they will shrink down too much when wet.  Then I place two little black seeds in each plug.  It is hard to tell if they land in the right place because they disappear on the soil.  Then I cover them, 1/4 inch of soil allowing for more compacting when watered.  I don't mash them down again.

I filled the rest of the tray with other seeds even though they didn't need as much time to grow.  I planted a couple of open leaf cabbages to use as greens.  These will be transplanted outdoors when I can get to my cold frame.  They can grow in there if it freezes a little.

I also planted the eggplant and a sweet green pepper.  Even though it is early to plant these two by a month, they can be transplanted into larger pots later to await warm nights. They can grow inside until then.

I use Popsicle sticks for identification written with permanent Sharpie markers to withstand the elements. I date the marker, too, for later reference.  I used to keep a journal to record the performance of the different variety of seed in this climate.  I know which variety of seed that I like now.

I set the seed tray into a bottom tray that is filled about half way with water to soak the seeds.  It will soak up most of the water.  The extra water can be left at this point because there are no roots yet to drown.  After they have sprouted I will have to remove them from the water after they are soaked well.  When they get some leaves and strength I can water them from the top with a watering can.

I will plant more tomorrow.  Then I will have to dig out my tray covers, plant lights and something to set it up on.  My shelves have been conscripted into garage use by my husband and the lights have probably been used to replace ones that have broken ballasts in the garage.  I would have to lock them up if I wanted them to be safe.  I haven't used them for a few years so they were fair game, I suppose.  

A job for another day.  I love putting in the seed. (Robert Frost)  It is fun to play in the dirt once again.



No comments:

Post a Comment