I planted the seedlings on the 26th of February. I wanted to wait but my excitement bit me. The overly warm winter has set the trees to flowering. The chances of an early warm spring is here and it may mean moving my garden out weeks early.
My setup is a bit neater this year. Last year I had lights hanging under my craft table and crawled on the floor to do anything. It was amusing but very impractical and a pain in the but when we started to harden the plants off with trips outside.
This year I purchased a cheap storage rack to hold the trays. My main criteria was shelf height. Lowes wound up being the winner with a plastic shelving unit with plenty of height. I use a space heater to warm the room. This is my spare bedroom which is a closet for my work clothing, crafts and our linen.
Once my unit was together I played with ropes to hang the lights. The lights are longer than the rack. I am okay with it but things are a touch awkward because of it. I could buy grow lights but the moment you search for plant specific lights the price tag jumps from twenty dollars to sixty. It is the similar fate of all hobbies.
The Rapunzel were the first tomatoes up. This is a type that is new to the market. I believe this is its second year on the market. I picked it up because it is supposed to have trellis that trail forty cherry tomatoes long. That sounds super fun. I am pleased that they both germinated within hours of each other.
My lights are on a switch that talks to a cute switch on the wall and lets me turn them on and off with a button click. I turn them on when I get up and off when I get home. The plants get about sixteen hours of light with a rest period.
The rest of them have slowly worked their way up. The common wisdom when planting is to plant 3 seeds per tray and keep the strongest. I decided to plant one seed per tray and see what happened. My results? One seed did not germinate. That is the Brandywine hybrid.
The Brandywine hybrid I have a lot of hopes for, so I planted a second seed. My hopes are thus: I loved the Brandywine tomatoes I got last year but the plant produced about 6 large, beautiful, delicious fruit. It looked like crap the entire year and struggled in a pathetic, anemic haze. I got a hybrid to add some vigor to the plant. In my container environment I have to weed out plants that struggle.
What a difference a week makes. I have a fan blowing across the seedlings. This helps the soil to dry out. I prefer to add water then have the soil stagnate and mold. The first true leaves are in and the second is coming along.
This year I decided to try miracle grow seedling starter soil. It is doing well, it drains well, and the seedlings are thriving.
The only tomatoes I am waiting on are my ones from the University of Florida. If you are interested in the source of food, the story of the Garden Gem is interesting.
Over in the second tray the peppers have started to pop up. I planted them a solid ten days behind the tomatoes. They have a longer germination time.
I am also trying Ground Cherries again.I have been fretting that I should have added more seeds. I am pleased to announce that I went up to check on them and I have a tendril of green breaking through.
Garden 2017 is off to a great start.