The continued rise of the seedlings

Since last week’s post, things have exploded in our starters! ….well…mostly. The greens and romanesco starter (#1) has really taken off:

03moresprouts2
Many a salad is in our future!

We’ve been having some issues trying to get the lighting distance just right for this tray. Last Monday we noticed that some of the plants were turning yellow, so we figured they were too close to the light. As a result, we moved them onto a lower table. Unfortunately, it turned out to be too low,  for as you can see, the plants on the right-hand side of the pictures have stretched far too much, so the stalks are just falling over. We raised the bed closer to the light, which might help, but we have a couple ideas in mind concerning temporary transplanting. Hopefully we’ll get to taking care of them this week.

Meanwhile, the two tomato starters (#2 and 4) have sprouted beautifully!

Starter #2
Starter #2
Starter #4
Starter #4

While we’re absolutely looking forward to cultivating several new tomato varieties, what’s most exciting about this is that the majority of our saved seeds have germinated! So we’re really looking forward to keeping some of these tomatoes going for a few generations.

Curious about the three rows in Starter #4 with only the teeniest of sprouts? Those are the ground cherries, a fruit that’s completely new to us.  If your curious about this kin to the gooseberry, stick with us here as we’ll be doing a future post on them.

Beside lettuces and tomatoes, our basil is also making great headway.

03moresprouts1
Starters #5a and #5b

You can barely see the purple basil sprouts against the dirt, but they are there! For some reason, we initially expected that the purple basil plants would be green except for the leaves, but that’s not the case at all. We’re sure these purple plants will look wonderful in our herb planters.

So what’s missing from this picture show is Starter #3, the peppers. Why? Because, sadly, there’s nothing to show. Not a single pepper seed has sprouted yet. We know that in the most perfect of conditions — warm light, 80 degree soil — pepper seeds should germinate in about 7-10 days. This weekend has been the first with above freezing temperatures in a long while. We tend to keep the house on the cooler side generally, so things have been anything but ideal for the peppers. Yesterday we decided to help with the heat factor by placing the pepper tray on an old heating pad. It’s definitely keeping the tray warm, but no peppers yet. Knowing that peppers can be finicky, we’re keeping our patience in check and are hopeful that we’ll see some sprouts soon.

Oh, and speaking of the weather (several sentences ago), we really have enjoyed a taste of spring this weekend. Having loads of sun and days in the 50s has done wonders for our collective mood! There’s actually an inkling of more snow in the week’s forecast, which will hopefully turn out to be just rain, but the taste of spring has been divine. Only twelve more days to go until spring’s official start!

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