Monday, April 4, 2016

Seed Starting Season

Here in Massachusetts zone 5b, the gardening season has begun. Most of the brassicas have sprouted and are tucked snugly under the grow lights. The pepper seeds were placed in damp paper towels inside plastic bags on top of the grow lamp, where a warm  environment is maintained 16 hours a a day, and have started to germinate.

Outside, the picture is a bit different. We had a quick moving storm come through which gave us an inch of wet snow and some wind, but the sun is now out. This will all melt quickly.

This cardinal arrived on its way north and is not bothered in the least by a quick spring snowstorm. And fortunately, no power outages.

The pepper seeds have been on top of the grow lamps covered with a kitchen towel since March 27 and are starting to germinate. First to germinate were Revolution, Carmen, and Super Shepherd.


These germinated Super Shepherd seeds were placed in 6-cell flats and are now kept on the heat mat until they emerge from the starting mix.

The onions and shallots have received their second haircut and the trimmings are destined for omelets and other culinary uses. The expensive Takrima leek seeds finally emerged after a month and received their first trim along with the onions. I’m happy I will not have to buy leek seedlings after all.

Sunday I sowed nine varieties of tomato seeds, using the same technique I used with the pepper seeds. They are now on top of a grow lamp and will hopefully start to germinate within a week’s time. The plan is to get six of each started, or 54 tomato plants. That is much more than I have space for, but I will pot them up into 4 inch pots and then select the best for myself. The rest will be shared with friends.

Next up will be lettuces and chard. The lettuces will mostly go into self-watering planter on the deck where they are easily accessed without a drive to the garden. Then I have to get the garden beds cleaned up and figure out where I am going to put all of these plants. Hopefully we don’t fall into a pattern of stormy Sundays because that is the only day I have free until late April.


  1. Dave, I know Johnny's at least says to trim leek seedlings, and I did it last year, but I really don't know the purpose and was going to try not doing it this year. What do you think?

    1. The theory behind trimming is it makes the plants stockier. The practical aspect is they share a grow lamp with shorter plants and are touching the bulbs and getting burned. The bonus is the trimmings were a tasty addition to my scrambled eggs this morning.

  2. It may be snowy outside but it looks like the seedlings and sprouting seeds are staying warm inside. We've had freezes hear but thankfully no snow - yet. They are talking flurries later this week, which means I need to locate my snow shovel!

  3. Your brassica seedlings are looking wonderful as are your alliums! My brassicas are only now getting their first set of true leaves but, considering all the snow outside, it should work out fine.

    Fingers crossed for some good Sunday weather for you - hopefully our spring will have fewer ups and downs than this past winter!

  4. It's so strange, at least to me, to see all those healthy seedlings juxtaposed with the snowy scene. Spring has sprung here and we are actually due for a quick early heat spell. I did the same with my pepper seeds on Saturday and spied the first sprouts yesterday. I thought I would have a few more days to get the pots ready! I'm sending sunny Sunday thoughts your way...


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