Friday, May 7, 2010

Seedling Hits and Misses

Today has been rainy, chilly and dreary--it reminded me of those bleak days in February and March when houseplants and started seedlings were the only plants growing. That reflection led me to think closely about my seedlings, almost all of which have been transplanted to the garden. I can't deny it's been a rollercoaster year for seedlings. Some germinated wonderfully, others not at all. Some have grown vigorously, others struggled, and others won't really give me an answer until later this season. It's not like this is the first time such things have happened, but this year I attempted to provide reliable light with my little fluorescent lamp. Ah, such are the vagaries of gardening...

The Hits

Basil seedlings are probably the biggest hit of the year so far! Here you see (left to right) Thai basil, pesto basil and Greek basil. I can't wait to explore the subtle differences between those flavors. My basil harvest last year was sub-par thanks to cool, rainy weather, so I am really hoping for better conditions!


Also a hit are the coreopsis 'Sunfire' seedlings. I know this guy doesn't look like much, but these seedlings have grown vigorously without getting leggy, and since they're perennials I don't expect explosive growth at this point anyway. There are about eight others just like this one, grouped in my new south border near the rattlesnake master (Eryngium yuccifolium), nodding wild onion (Allium cernuum) and a baptisia.


Broccoli seedlings are a definite hit. (Please pardon all the maple seeds strewn about the garden.)


Here's a closer look at a particularly good one. I've sown more seeds directly in the garden, but I'm very happy I started a few inside first.

The Misses

Black-eyed susans are my biggest miss this year. Why are they not pictured? Because they have all died, or at least have disappeared. I'm downright aggravated! I nursed them along despite a weak germination rate, and immediately upon transplanting last week they were eaten (not their fault) or just shriveled. I'm hoping maybe a couple will magically appear next season as their roots perhaps survived the foliage-eating, but my plan for coneflowers and rudbeckias in the volcanic-rock-salvaged border has been foiled!


A potential miss are the pink cosmos I got compliments of Renee's Garden. Only this one has a bud, and I'm afraid they'll turn out to be too leggy. They sprouted quickly but got spindly and floppy way too fast. I think the fluorescent lamp wasn't enough and they've suffered from a lack of sunlight. But maybe this bud is a good sign and the others will follow suit...

Gratuitous vegetable garden photo:

While nothing besides the broccoli was started indoors, the cool-season veggie garden is coming along beautifully! White, red, yellow and green onions are growing, as well as about five types of lettuce, two types of spinach, and some kohlrabi (plus the broccoli, of course). Warm-season crops like squash, peppers and tomatoes will have to wait a couple more weeks thanks to our unpredictable spring weather, but right now I'm not complaining!

This is by no means the end of the seedlings around here. Carrots, squash and cucumbers will be directly sown in the veggie garden, along with borage and marigolds for pollinator attraction and pest prevention, respectively. Hyacinth bean will be started near the front porch and alyssum is destined for the front garden as a quick annual groundcover.

How are your seedlings doing this year? Do you have more to start outdoors? Are you already harvesting vegetables?

4 comments:

garden girl said...

Ah, the maple seeds! :| They're all over the place here too. Your veggie garden is coming along nicely Rose! I'm harvesting radishes, baby lettuce and arugula, and hardy oregano that's planted in the shade garden.

I haven't planted the cosmos seeds yet - maybe this week. They'll just go straight into the garden. Hopefully they'll be happier than the nasturtiums I started under lights, which are still very leggy, and now kind of beaten up by all the wind we've had.

garden girl said...

p.s. Happy Mother's Day!

Rose said...

Your basil and broccoli are looking good, Rose. I haven't transplanted any of my seedlings, partly because I started mine much later and partly because I was just too afraid of a sudden frost yet. I've been away from home the last several days and left husband in charge of watering them, so I'm a little worried if any of them will be left when I get home:)

I had several plants that looked so promising, but then got way too leggy. I'm wondering what I could do differently next year to prevent that. As for your cosmos, I've had the best luck just sowing those directly outdoors.

Nellie said...

Hi Rose - Yep, cosmos need heat and lots of it. It's probably best just to start them outdoors once nights are consistently in the 55 degree range. Let me know if you want a replacement packet!

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