Tuesday, March 31, 2015

A Rule of (green) Thumb

Every growing season I stress the need for record keeping. But after awhile a grower just remembers when to start planting. Or you can relate it to certain dates and develop a rule of thumb for planting. Using that technique, I start my hot peppers on St. Patty's Day.
 So here they are in the germination tray, seeded on 3/17/15. The Peperone are seeds that I've had for 8 years now, I sowed them quite heavy because of that. Also STGT in three rows are Sweet Banana Peppers.
There are 10 seeds in these two rows. I had really good luck with this variety last year. Or should I say, the plants I gave away, those folks had great yields from those plants. Mine not so much.

The peppers sprouted rapidly, within  a couple days of seeding. The heat mat and temperature control probe really aid in germination.
In the foreground of this picture are Rellenos that are also sprouting. This picture was taken on 3/22 so about 5 days for germination. I've since pricked out some of the peppers. They're growing nicely. 
I actually got 10 viable La Bomba Pepper seedlings.
These Sweet Banana peppers look too far along, I hope we have an early outdoor growing season! I seeded to the germination tray my sweet bell peppers on 3/25. They look like they are sprouting today.

Wednesday, March 18, 2015

Viable Seedlings

Germination is one thing, getting viable seedlings is really the challenge. The cotyledons of my New Guinea impatiens are appearing. I've been trying to keep the germination tray moist, but not too wet. Also, I've moved the tray and now keep it positioned directly under my 4 foot florescent light.

I've begun to prick out some of the seedlings. So far I've filled one 6 pack. Some of the germinated seeds are not going to survive. I may have to rethink the seeding process. These seeds were right on top of the growing medium. I think I need to press them down into the medium next time. I've also STGT some regular impatiens. Those I lightly covered with a mixture of peat, perlite and vermiculite. It's good to see something growing again in Minnesota.

Sunday, March 8, 2015

Germination on Day 6

Amazing, when you follow the directions it seems you're more apt to succeed. On day 6 at 100% humidity and an average 76 degrees temperature, the impatiens started to sprout. If you look very closely you'll see a radicle emerging from the seeds. I had to use a visual aid to see the sprout.

The camera at close range shows the seeds if you know what to look for. I must admit, it's a bit like finding Waldo but they have definitely begun to sprout.

Wednesday, March 4, 2015

Patience with Impatiens

So last year I grew Orange New Guinea Impatiens. I tried to germinate 25 seeds. I was only successful growing 10 plants. I just could not get them to germinate. But thinking back on that process, I had them in the germination tray but also on the heating mat. And to aid with germination, impatiens need light. But with the light on 24/7, I had soil temps above 80 degrees. 
This year I am not using the heat mat. I have a clamp light about 8 inches above the tray and I've got my maximum temp setting at 77 degrees. The light alone is capable of keeping the tray 75 to 77 degrees as it cycles on and off. I put 100 seeds in the germination tray on March 1st and I've covered them with a piece of ziplock bag. I will keep you posted on their progress. I think the seeds are starting to swell a bit but no sign of radicles yet.

Monday, March 2, 2015

A Look Back

I have a garden on the south side of our garage. I've had success growing sweet corn there but last year I decided to relax a bit and just put in pumpkins and sunflowers. Both did quite well as you can see.

Multiple flower heads!

Since this area is on the south side it receives a lot of sun and dries out quickly. At the far side of the picture you can see I utilize a rain barrel. I plan on putting in a trough system to water the area this year and I'm planning on squash for 2015. The sunflowers were impressive, maxing out at 7 to 8 feet. However, I'm lucky I took these photos when I did because the next week they started to topple over from their own wieght.

Sunday, March 1, 2015

We Begin Again

Hello 2015, the grow season begins. The Grow Center has been scrubbed and bleached and today impatiens will be seeded to the germination tray. It's been a cold winter here in Minnesota, but we've been lucky with only a normal, manageable amount of snow. We'll see what March brings. Until we start to see some green, here is a picture from last summer.

 My first attempt at growing Billy Buttons. 

You can tell by the Heavenly Blues that this photo was taken late in the growing season. Here is a link for more information on the origins of the flower.     http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Craspedia

The effect was a little disappointing so last fall the planting bed was tilled up and tulips were planted in this space. The orange tulips are now waiting for their chance to welcome Spring to Minnesota.