Thursday, March 4, 2010

Seed Starting Started

The seed-growing season is officially underway! With this very humble set-up, I have planted seeds of native forbs that I have been stratifying (and in some cases scarifying) for much of the winter: Canadian columbine (Aquilegia canadensis), blue columbine (A. caerulea), yellow coneflower (Ratbida pinnata), and nodding wild onion (Allium cernuum). Today I noticed the very first tiny shoots of Allium seedlings! That's germination is less than a week!

These pictures were taken a few days ago, and I'm happy to report that much of snow in the background has melted now that we've had a few sunny, relatively warm days. The light is not an actual grow light by any stretch of the imagination. In fact, it's a regular desk lamp with a 15-watt fluorescent bulb, and I really can't say if it's providing a helpful amount of light. But it was cheap and it can't hurt, right?

I don't have a heat mat, which is bothering me but not to the point where I've felt I should make the effort to get one. That could change with Round 2 of seed starting in a couple weeks.

Speaking of Round 2, that will be the big one. I'll be starting rudbeckia, agastache, cosmos, alchemilla, phlox, two kinds of basil, and some other random blue columbine seeds that didn't get planted in the current batch. Aside from the basil, I'm going to start all my vegetable seeds outdoors. We'll see if that turns out to be a wise choice. I'm also going to have to get creative about marking which seedlings are in which containers. I have my nice little popsicle-stick tags, but they're too tall for the tray and when they're standing up I can't close the lid. Whoops. Maybe I'll break them to be shorter?

I haven't seen any sign of flowers in the garden yet, but it's starting to feel like spring!


Mr. McGregor's Daughter said...

Nice set up! I don't bother trying to start seeds indoors, as I'm a dismal failure at it. If you're concerned about bottom heat, you could put the seed tray on top of the refrigerator for a while. I'm not surprised the Alliums germinated so quickly. They're a bit of a pest for me, seeding about too freely.

Rose said...

Isn't this a beautiful day? I've been outside a little checking for crocuses coming up, but all the remaining snow seems to be concentrated in my garden areas:) Congratulations on seeing some growth in your seedlings already! I've had pretty good luck getting seeds to germinate no matter my set-up, but it's getting them large enough to transplant that always proves the disaster for me. This year I'm going to try a few different ideas, including putting some vermiculite on top to prevent damping off. I'm itching to start seeds now, too, but I'm going to be gone for a week in mid-March, so I'm going to wait until I get back to make sure they get all the attention they deserve. I direct sow all my vegetables, too. Hope your little babies continue to thrive!

garden girl said...

. . . and another beautiful day today! Good luck with your seedlings Rose. I'm watching mine, waiting for signs of life. . . kind of like watching the clock, or waiting for the pot to boil!

Another day of snow melting today. As quickly as that snow melts, I'm seeing sprouting and new foliage growth. Yay!

rambleonrose said...

MMD--The alliums are from the ones you gave me last year! I guess that makes them blogalong passalong seedlings!

Rose--I like the vermiculite idea! Damping off is always a problem for me, as a confessed over-waterer.

GG--Thanks! It definitely feels like watching for a pot to boil. I'm loving the nice weather we've had lately. I finally poked around under the mulch yesterday but nothing is sprouting yet.

Gail said...

Like MMD...I have failed miserably at seed starting indoors...We have a very dry house! But, I love hearing your success stories! So keep telling us them and Is a heating pad too hot? gail

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