Thursday, April 18, 2013

Vinca update

The Trailing Vinca is blooming!

I've repotted some of the vinca seedlings to allow them to spread out. Here you can see that one is blooming already. I hope that I haven't started them too early. Today the high was about 35 degrees and no prediction of a warm up in sight. In fact we are supposed to get a couple of inches of snow tonight.

Wednesday, April 17, 2013

Tomato Time

It's time to start your tomatoes. I seeded mine to the heated tray on Sunday, the 14th of April. The heating mat thermostat is set at 85 degrees and I covered the tray to preserve humidity.

Two days later I've got some seeds sprouting.

After reviewing my past garden logs and assessing the performance of the transplanted tomatoes, I've set a rule of thumb for planting time as April 15th. It is an easy date to remember given it's the deadline for tax filing. I've started tomatoes earlier but those years I had mature plants before the weather had settled enough to plant them outside. It's a lot better to have tomatoes that need to catch up rather than root bound leggy plants that you need to "trench" into the garden. Here in Minnesota you can plan on waiting until after Memorial Day to safely plant tomatoes and peppers outside. 
I've also seeded to a tray Borage, Okra, Flowering Kale, and Beets. This is the first time I've tried to start all of these inside. 

Sunday, April 14, 2013

Zahara Fire Zinnias

On April Fools Day I seeded some zinnias to the germination tray.

I set the heat mat at 80 degreess and left the light on 24hrs.

Two days later the seeds were sprouting!

At the end of the week on April 7th I pricked out the zinnias to egg cartons. I think that transplanting them from the egg cartons to the garden will cause less transplant shock. I'd heard that Zinnias don't like to have their roots disturbed and grow better if they are direct seeded. But here again they wouldn't stand a chance because of the earwigs. I think zinnias are related to sunflowers and earwigs love them both. So I am testing the egg carton planters for this purpose.
Out of 50 seeds I have 40 seedlings.

Sunday, April 7, 2013


Moonsong Deep Orange Hybrid
 Marigolds are easy to grow. In fact they are so easy that they can be direct seeded to the garden in the spring. However, in Minnesota we are now plagued by a new garden pest. EARWIGS ! These nasty bugs eat just about everything. I didn't think anything ate marigolds but these bugs can devour a tender seedling overnight. Given that new gardening challenge you almost have to start the marigolds inside so that they have grown large enough to withstand the loss of some leaves from the hungry earwigs. On St. Patty's day I seeded to the germination tray Moonsong Hybrid Marigolds. They sprouted quickly so five days later I pricked them out and put them in egg cartons. 

Here they are growing in the cartons today. I lost one plant from under watering but I think it will revive. It's important not to over water seedlings but that line between dry and dead is an easy one to cross.

Thursday, April 4, 2013

HOT Pepper Plants

Last month at about this time I seeded to the heated tray some hot peppers. I've found through the years that those hot varieties need a bit more time than the sweet bell peppers. The hot ones were started on 3/8 and then on 3/15 I started the sweet bell peppers. I also seeded some eggplant. Eggplant is a lot like tomatoes but it needs more time in the growcenter just like the hot peppers. It's really not too late to start peppers or eggplant but the window is closing on starting them inside and having them ready for transplant in May.

HOT Peppers
Sweet Bell

Most of the pepper seeds were left overs from years past, but the sweet bell are new this year. The variety is Bell Boy Hybrid.

Bell Boy Hybrid