Vegetable Garden Series Part 3b: Caring for Seeds Update

I wanted to give you a quick update on what the vegetable seedlings look like after 6 weeks.

FYI for the crooked shop light: I just raise one side of the shop light to fit the tallest seedlings, in order to let the lower side still be closer to the smaller seedlings.

Pictured above are the pepper and tomato starts. I’ve given them a diluted fish emulsion fertilizer once and will probably feed them again in a week. Otherwise I’m just keeping them watered and that’s about it at this point.

I will need to re-pot some of the tomatoes I started in little cells, but the ones I started in 4-in” pots will be fine until I’m able to get them in the ground. Around here we usually can plant tomatoes around the first week of May, but even then I usually surround them with a row cover to keep them nice and warm while they get used to outside.

This is the other tray I started at the same time as the tomatoes. This tray has onions, lettuces and broccoli/cauliflower/cabbage and since they are cool-weather crops, I “hardened them off” about a week and a half ago. The weather (and our schedule) will finally cooperate and I will be able to plant them this weekend.

Seedlings need to be “hardened off” because they have been in our nice warm houses and they would go into major shock if we just stuck them right in the ground. So ideally, I am supposed to bring them outside each day for about a week, leaving them out longer each time, but not overnight, until by the end of the week they are ready to be outside all the time.

OK, that’s ideally. Are you interested in what happened (and sadly is typical) at my house?

I left them out for a couple of hours on day 1 in a shady area (we had unusually strong sun that day). I forgot to take them out on day 2 until the afternoon around 3:00. Then I forgot and left them out overnight.

When I went running out to check on them (they were under cover on a table on the porch, so weren’t being pummeled by the rain), they looked fine, so I left them, thinking I’d be going backwards to bring them back in now.

This worked mainly because these are cool-weather loving plants. If I had done this with the peppers, I’d be buying my peppers at the nursery this year…

All this to say- life happens! But let’s try planting some seeds anyway.





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