Well, this has been, hands down, the busiest couple of work weeks I’ve ever had. I’ve barely had the time or energy to look at my plants, let alone play with them. They managed to survive, despite my neglect, and now that things have calmed down (at least temporarily), I had the time this weekend to pot up and start some new seeds. I’m about two weeks behind the schedule I created earlier this year, but at least I won’t be pushing the envelope as much as I was going to. It’s tough to say whether the worst of winter is over here, and it’s probably better to put things out a little later instead of taking the risk with the cold.

I potted up the oldest broccoli, cauliflower, and onion plants, all of which are about 5 weeks old. I moved them from the seedling tray into 3″ peat pots to make some more room for the plethora of tomato seeds I was starting today. I’m going to need to fertilize them….forgot about that! I’ll use a liquid seaweed fertilizer at 1/4 strenth. Maybe tonight.

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All of my pepper seeds have sprouted…including a 3-leaved Jimmy Nardello! I think someone on Garden Web brought up this phenomenon recently, but I haven’t checked in over there for quite a while, so I’m not sure what the verdict is…is this very a common occurrence?

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I started some more eggplant seeds today, after 0% germination of the last round. I know it was because I didn’t cover the cells with plastic to warm the starting mix properly. At least, that’s what I think happened. I got a little haphazard with the plantings in the seedling tray and put them in a precarious spot. This time I’ve got all new seeds on the bottom half of the tray so I could easily cover them all over at once. Hopefully it was user error and not a bad batch of seeds.

Along with the new eggplant seeds, I also started my tomatoes. Black Cherry, Sun Gold Cherry, Pink Grapefruit, Mortgage Lifter, Cherokee Purple, Bloody Butcher, Paul Robeson, and Brandywine Red. I chose the Pink Grapefruit just because I think they look cool. We’ll see how they taste! I added Paul Robeson because he used to live in my hometown. I feel like I’m supposed to grow them. 🙂

Doesnt it look like a pink grapefruit with its yellow skin and pink center?

Doesn't it look like a pink grapefruit with its yellow skin and pink center?

I also got a third light last week. I think I have finally optimized my planting space. I could use a second heat mat, but with some finagling I may be able to fit everything onto the one.

Finally, I didn’t have a chance to report that last week I took most of the mulch off the garlic bed, and to my surprise they were already growing under there!

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Since then, the cold nights have yellowed them a bit, but I have read in numerous places that it’s better to lose the top growth in the early months than to keep them smothered with mulch for too long. I’m trusting the people who know what they’re doing! Ah, isn’t experimenting fun?

I’m going out of town this week, but the plan for next weekend is to put the strings on the boxes to divide them up into square feet, construct the string trellis, and plant lettuce and pea seeds. I’m thinking I’ll put some plastic down on the beds tomorrow before I go so the warm weather this week can heat up the beds before next weekend.

All in all, I feel pretty good about where I am at this stage!

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