Sunday, April 5, 2009

LSM update

You know the sound that Homer Simpson makes when he's surprised? That quick, high-pitched "AAH!" that he lets out when shocked or scared? That's exactly the sound I made this morning when I checked my seedlings and found this.

Yup, that's my Eupatorium seedling, which apparently is determined to drive me absolutely crazy. Upon further investigation I found that he isn't wilting or dying, but rather flopping over from the weight of his own leaves. So I added a little more soil-less mix to prop him up. Here he is now, still precarious but better.

I keep going back and forth over what to do. Should I transplant him into a larger peat pot and hopefully avoid more of this flopping? Or is it too risky to move such a clearly delicate seedling? Why is this making me so crazy?

In general this has been a very interesting experiment with seedlings. A couple years ago I started some annual flowers from seed in March, and they sprouted beautifully and all was well and good until I moved them into the garden where they languished and didn't flower. I figured out two problems: 1) I didn't plant them in full sun locations, and 2) they were tiny when I planted them outside in the first place. Basically they didn't have a long enough growing season or enough sun to reach their full potential. Frustrated with myself, I gave up on starting seeds until this miserable winter when I figured even wimpy plants were better than endless barren darkness. So I started a bunch of seeds in mid-January. That seemed to solve the first problem, because these annuals and perennials alike are getting a long growing season. Look at how well these coleus are doing:

But I think I jumped the gun a little, because now my annuals are outgrowing their little pots (and the few well-lit locations inside my house), but it's still too early to transplant them outside. I am making a mental note to start annuals in February next year. The perennials, on the other hand, are probably benefiting from the extra time to grow and toughen up before I start acclimating them to the outdoors. I also chose shade-tolerant perennials (Agastache, Aquilegia, Eupatorium) to deal with that whole not-getting-full-sun-in-the-garden problem.

I have thoroughly enjoyed having a tray full of vibrant herb and flower seedlings brightening up this place for the last six weeks, despite the stress the LMS has given me. I only hope my efforts turn out better than last time! I will certainly keep agonizing over when and how to transplant this little guy. But as I watch the hail/sleet mix coming down outside, at least my seedlings offer the hope that one day I will again be able to garden in the actual ground outdoors. At this point, that seems like quite the pipe dream.

One last note: I know I'm just discussing flower and herb seedlings (and foliage plants, to be technical), and I will soon have a spiel about vegetable seeds. But to keep this from becoming a truly rambling post about seedlings of all sorts, I will focus my thoughts and get into that discussion in the near future. Anyone with tips on Eupatorium seeds, I again appeal for your help!


Mr. McGregor's Daughter said...

I'd move the things up to a bigger pot. But of course I have no clue what I'm talking about because I stink at starting seeds indoors. I have started seeds in pots outside, and I do move them up to larger containers when they need it. So maybe that would work?

rambleonrose said...

MMG-You're probably right. It's got to be about time for me to get some guts and just move this thing to a bigger pot so the roots can grow enough to support the leaves! It's worked well with the cilantro and basil, and my columbine seedlings are doing just fine in their larger pots. Oh, they grow up so fast!

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