At the beginning of February, I started quite a few seeds inside. It has been quite the learning experience. I went on the information Burpee’s website had for each plant since I ordered a lot of my seeds from them. Next year, I’ll know what not to start in February because it gets too big and outgrows the cart shelving. I also know what I won’t be starting from seed next year. Lavender is a really big pain in the butt to start from seed. Thankfully it’s a perennial, so I won’t have to worry about seeding any next year.
I planted extras of everything just in case one plant didn’t do so well. I started out with Miracle Gro’s seed-starting mix and dampened it some before filling the seed trays so it would be more absorbent when I misted/watered the seeds after sowing them.
Upon doing a little research, I decided to use seedling heat mats (purchased from Amazon) to raise the temperature. Our basement is fairly chilly in February, and I imagine it’s not around the 70-75° most seeds need for germination.
I also got the grow lights on Amazon. Just 6 days after sowing, quite a few seeds had sprouted: broccoli, peppers, tomatillos, tomatoes, and a few herbs. I thought one grow light would be enough for each tray, but as you can see below, the seedlings were leaning in way too much, so I had to order another set of grow lights.
The picture below is 11 days after planting the top tray and 8 days after planting the bottom tray, which is mostly green onions with a few herbs, 4 o’clocks, and vanilla marigolds. I didn’t expect the 4 o’clocks and marigolds to sprout because the seeds were from 2 years ago. After researching 4 o’clocks, I really don’t want to plant them anywhere because I’ve read they can be rather invasive. These will have to be container flowers. This is my first year doing onions from seeds, so I hope they turn out okay.
After installing an additional grow light for each shelf, the seedlings slowly adjusted and started standing up straighter. Lesson here: don’t skimp on the lighting!
After just 3 weeks, the seedlings started getting too big for the small containers they were in, so I moved them to larger ones and onto the new grow light cart I’d assembled, which has more room in between each shelf. I also switched from the Miracle Gro seed-starting mix to the garden dirt I’d mixed, Mel’s Mix.
Seedlings at 3 weeks.
Seedlings at 3 1/2 weeks.
Seedlings at 4 weeks. The catnip is growing extremely well!
Tomatillos and tomato seedlings at 4 1/2 weeks. They’re getting a little too big for this cart. Tomatoes and tomatillos are two things I will definitely wait to plant in late March next year.
Lots of growth once I transplanted them to larger containers in the new soil. 4 1/2 weeks after sowing.
I started a few new seeds at the beginning of March and just used these plastic cups to get the greenhouse effect.
Since the tomatoes and tomatillos were getting too large to keep under my grow lights, I found and purchased this $40 greenhouse from Lowe’s. It’s not a bad deal, and the great thing is I can quickly disassemble it for compact storage. It took me about 5-10 minutes to assemble. At this point (5 weeks after sowing), my intention was to harden off the plants to stay outdoors in the greenhouse until planting.
Unfortunately, I had a greenhouse disaster at the 6-week mark, about a week after using the greenhouse. I had taken 2 of the 4 trays out of the greenhouse to sit out on the lawn. I was planting something close-by, and a gust of wind blew the entire greenhouse over. This probably wouldn’t have happened had I had all 4 trays in the greenhouse (and as long as the dirt wasn’t dried out). I guess the greenhouse was too light with just 2 trays. I didn’t get a picture of it turned over because I was mortified. I think I stood there with my mouth wide open in shock for a good two minutes before beginning the process of picking up to see what damage was done.
Plants that fell included all my peppers, the French marigolds, & some herbs. Thankfully my pepper plants have bounced back fairly well, but I didn’t have planter labels in all of them because each row of 3 was a different kind. I only had markers on the front plant, so now I have no idea which pepper plants are which.
Thankfully, I do have one of each kind labeled that I intend to plant (which is all I needed), except my banana pepper. I planted more banana pepper seeds yesterday, so I should be okay by May. Anyone want some mystery pepper plants? lol
I also went ahead and planted a few of the herbs in the garden since they fell out of their containers. So far they’ve survived a night where the temperature dropped down into the high 30’s: parsley, oregano, rosemary, and thyme.
And I let Oxford taste-test one of the extra catnips.
I planted more seeds yesterday and will do a follow-up post in a few weeks regarding those plants.