Garden Chronicle: Seedlings | Rock Candy

Sunday, March 1, 2009

Garden Chronicle: Seedlings

Posted By on Sun, Mar 1, 2009 at 11:59 AM

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Tomato seeds sprouting.
I was happily surprised to find baby tomato plants peeking out of peat pots only two days after planting the seeds. So the cover came off the tray and I flipped on the fluorescent light to help them on their way. (I don’t have a big sunny windowsill or greenhouse for seed starting, so I purchased a cheap shop light.)

Having never started anything from seed in the house, I didn’t really know what I was doing with the lights. Perhaps I should have researched a little more, but I thought I had it under control. Apparently I purchased the wrong kind of bulbs, warm instead of cool, and with only one two-bulb fixture, the seedlings weren’t getting equal light. The two things combined to make my seedlings grow sideways and get leggy, meaning they were very tall and skinny.

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Leggy tomato seedlings.

I had to move quickly, before they started falling over, so I transplanted the leggy seedlings from their peat pots into a tray of deeper dirt. Tomatoes can grow roots from any part of the stalk, and planting them deeper should solve the problem of their legginess as well as help them build a stronger root system. I also exchanged my cool bulbs for daylight bulbs and purchased a second light fixture.

All looks to be okay at the moment. They’re growing straight up and at a reasonable pace. I think a crisis was averted.

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Transplanted tomato seedlings.

Other news in regards to seedlings, my eggplant babies are coming along nicely, and the peppers are just starting to pop their heads out of the dirt. Neither sprouted as quickly as the tomatoes, so I had no issues with them being leggy. I also have lettuce, turnip, beet, and carrot seedlings that will go into the ground this week (they thrive in cooler weather). The beds must be prepared and a bunny fence built first. Looks like the weather this week will be good for gardening.

Every morning I wake up thinking of my little seedlings. I flip on their lights and wish them happy growing. I daydream a lot, looking at photos of beautiful summer gardens, and wonder if my endeavor will be successful. And before I go to bed, I spend a minute talking to the baby plants, telling them they’re doing a great job. I hope they pay me back for sweet-talking them with some tasty veggies.

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