Wednesday, February 24, 2010

SEED STARTING, THE SEASON'S FIRST LEAF CROPS

GARDEN JOURNAL: February 24, 2010.  
Started the following seeds last Saturday:
BLACK SEEDED SIMPSON lettuce
MARVEL OF FOUR SEASONS lettuce
WINTER DENSITY romaine lettuce
TENDERCROP early cabbage
PACKMAN broccoli
RED RUSSIAN kale
WINTERBOR kale

All of these varieties are well suited for early season cultivation in my Zone 6 New England garden. I've been growing Black Seeded Simpson since the early 1990's because it does so well in April and early May.   As you can see from the photo I planted
the seeds in 9 cell containers set in an 11" x 22" tray.  After covering the seeds with a 1/8" layer of seed starting medium and
watering them I covered the tray with a clear plastic dome to retain moisture.  I then put them on the bottom row of my plant
stand under a row of shop lites.  Lettuce, cabbage and kale seem to germinate better when exposed to light
right from the start.  It's been my experience that germination can happen within days.  If there is no light
when the seeds pop out of the soil they will become leggy very quickly and you will have to start over again.

Seeds planted four days ago are starting to emerge.
It happens this fast with leaf crops.  In a couple of
days I'll add some liquid nitrogen fertilizer to my
watering can to give the seedlings a boost.  I love
it.  This will never get old.  Of course, the show
is just getting started.  In the next few weeks, I
will plant hundreds of seeds.  There will be more
leaf crops, eggplant, tomatoes, peppers and flowers.  All of these seeds will begin their lives under lights on my plant stand.  I will show you
how to build your own plant stand on my next
post.  Until then, start some seeds of your own.
All the best,
Greg

No comments: