Tag Archives: seedlings

Wordless Wednesday: Spring Growth Edition

Images and content copyright © 2009-2012 Danielle R Limoge.

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Repotting Seedlings

I’ve got “true” leaves so you know what that means, right? Time to repot and bury those stems! By doing so the newly buried stem will begin growing roots, encouraging the development of a healthy and strong root system.

When a seed sprouts the first leaves to emerge are called cotyledons. If there is only one leaf, it’s a monocot, if it has two, it’s a dicot.  The primary function of those leaves is to serve as a food source for the growing seedling. Now that I have true leaves and my plants are actively photosynthesizing, it’s time to make sure they’re getting proper nutrition! I will now begin supplementing their potting soil with a bit of compost tea.

In a few weeks my plants will be repotted again and then make their way into cold frames so that they may begin to acclimate themselves to the cool Spring temperatures. If I place them directly outside, without protection, the cold weather is sure to kill them! Even though Lactuca and Brassica are cold weather hardy plants, I will harden them off for a few days before placing them into the ground, since they too were started inside and are used to a comfy 76+ degrees (my growing lights kick off some warmth)! I will begin introducing them to the outside world next week. The daytime temps will be in the mid 50’s but the nights will dip into the low 30’s, so they will come back inside once the sun sets.

Since we received a good amount of snowfall this winter, and several inches of rain recently, the ground is still very wet! Local tradition is to till and plant peas on Paddy’s day, unfortunately that did not happen this year. If I did any direct sowing right now my carrot, pea and spinach seeds are sure to rot in the ground! I did however inoculate some legumes and started a bit of container planting earlier this week. I was hoping to begin tilling and spreading manure this weekend, but since there is more rain in tomorrow’s forecast I don’t think that will happen. Oh well, there’s always next week!

 

Images and content copyright © 2009-2011 Danielle R Limoge.

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If you build it, they will grow.

Mid February I walked into Home Depot with a sketch, a list of materials and a mission, 90 minutes later I was ready to begin construction! More often than not when I’m walking around Home Depot or other testosterone type stores, I find myself surrounded with more help than I need. At one point I had 4 guys cutting wood for me when one person could have easily handled the job. Seriously, I had one sheet of plywood and five 2x3x8’s. I’m building a light stand people, not an addition to my house! But whatever, they were sweet and clearly thought I was some kitten stuck in a tree…so cut away boys, I’m not gonna stop you.

Armed with my trusty power drill, some drywall screws and a whole lot of determination, I was able to build my shelving unit in a little under 2 hours. My biggest obstacle was maneuvering it in such a confined space…and screwing the top shelf into place. Let me just say that placing a step-ladder on top of a chair is probably not the safest way to go about things, but it got the job done!

The unit stands 6′ tall and eventually will have a total of 6 shop lights. I initially set the lights up this way so I could get a better visual of what it will look like when full of growing transplants!

I originally thought 2 lights per shelf would be enough, but some of my brassicas are getting a bit leggy (which is to be expected when using anything except high pressure sodium bulbs). I’m going to pick up an additional light in the next few days and once I’m ready to start round two of my plants, I’ll purchase the remaining three. I also re-lowered the lights so that they hang approximately 2 inches above my seedlings. Even though fluorescent bulbs don’t get that hot I’m still a little geeked out about burning the place down! I anticipate this first round of plants to be somewhat trial and error.

Speaking of trial and error I’m conducting a little experiment with a bit of tin foil. I don’t know if it is going to work but I’m hoping to reflect additional light back onto my plants that would otherwise be wasted. This also helps in trapping the humid air that surrounds my plants from being watered from the bottom up. (Since these pictures were taken I’ve lined the shelf as well.) The only issue I’m running into (which can easily be corrected) is the foil being blown off when I turn the fan on to prevent damping-off.

Somewhere along the line I got it in my head that starting everything from seed would just be too difficult. Then about three years ago I became very obsessed serious about my food growing endeavors. Seeing as how the local greenhouses’ left much to be desired when it came to plant variety, I decided to just dive in and start growing everything from seed. I’m so glad I did!

 I’ve been kicking around the idea of selling some transplants too. Most of my varieties are heirloom, some are from rare and hard to find seeds; all are organic. Maybe on the weekends when the weather warms, I’ll set up a little stand under my front pines. Nothing elaborate or expensive, just reasonably priced organically grown vegetable plants. This way I can recoup some of my seed investment, additional utility expenditure, and hopefully offset the amount of GMO varieties making their way around town! 🙂

Images and content copyright © 2009-2011 Danielle R Limoge.

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