Tuesday, February 16, 2010

And They're Off! ...Or Are They?

For the first few days after my seed order came in, I spent a bit of time admiring the packets, reading the packets, organizing the packets, fondling the packets, and then reorganizing them again.  That did not satisfy the itch for long.  I spent the next couple of days stalking nurseries for seed packets that I had to have.  I was strong in this respect, the damage to the pocket book was under $5.  Unfortunately, that was where the will power ended.

I have posted more than once that I wanted to start my seeds a little later this year.  That last year I had such large plants in April that they became difficult to manage.  I have not forgotten last April.  However, I did start reading old blog entries.  In particular the ones where I rejoiced about having such an early tomato harvest and such a long tomato season.  Sigh.  No more excuses.  I caved.  I swear I was just going to start with a few leeks, but then I had this big bag of potting soil that either needed to be put in pots or the dog would kick it over.  From there I rationalized that my eggplants always take 2-3 weeks to sprout since I don't use heaters, so I might as well get them started, and hey eggplants are just like peppers right?  Might as well start them too!

On February 6th I started 9 cells of leeks, 22 cells of peppers and 9 cells of eggplants, two seeds to every cell.  I placed the giant tubberware container containing the eggplants, peppers and leeks near the sliding glass doors in the bedroom with the end of the container half covering the heating grate on the floor.  Apparently, bottom heat makes a difference because two days later I had eggplants sprouting all over the place.  Wait a minute, what's this?  How come the cells that had two seeds carefully placed in them were now sprouting four to five seedlings in them?  I stewed on this a bit and then remembered.  I had placed about a teaspoon of vermicompost near the bottom of each cell as gentle fertilizer.  Unscreened vermicompost.  Unscreened vermicompost collected from worms that consumed a huge amount of tomatoes last year.  GAH.  The first boo boo of the season and spring is still a month away.

This unfortunate mistake has led to an interesting problem.  Each day now when I scope the cells for new sprouts I must make a decision.  Pluck or leave?  I've easily ripped out 25 or so seedlings to date but as we get closer to the date when I expect the seeds that match my labels to start spouting, it's become more of a gamble.  Today I resorted to digging in the areas where I planted the seeds to try and locate the seeds I planted. Thankfully, they were often a nice light color and easy to identify.   Once I confirmed their location, I plucked the aliens in the pot.  The dig up the seeds method allowed me to definitely confirm today that the first eggplant has sprouted.  Applegreen is up, ten days from planting.  It was in the cell closest to being on top of the heating vent.  My plan moving forward is to pluck sprouts on the outside of the container.  Let live sprouts that I am not sure about and if there is no sprouts from any cell in the next 14 days to replant, assuming that I plucked wrong. 

All of this drama should have kept me busy enough, but since it refuses to stop snowing, and I'm trapped inside, it didn't.  Since the initial prompt for all this planting was the desire to once again have an early yield of tomatoes, planting the above did not satisfy me for long.  On February 10th I planted 44 cells of tomatoes.  I did not make the vermicompost error with this planting.  Therefore I think the plant that is already up in the Stupice cell, really is Stupice.  I'll be watching it closely though.  Those seedlings are tricky.


MrBrownThumb said...


I was just fondling and admiring my seed packets too. Looks like a nice assortment of seeds you got there.

Although, I'm not going to be starting any until way later in the spring. Just don't have the room for them.

Good luck with yours.

Stacy said...

Thanks MBT. Right back at you!

Kim said...

I love spreading out all my seed packets, arranging and rearranging, grouping, and shaking them. The last of my seeds from Sand Hill came in yesterday. I was nearly jumping for joy when my husband walked in with that big stuffed envelope!

Sorry about your vermicompost problem. That's a pickle!


Stacy said...

Thanks Kim. It was only a bummer in that I was SO careful not to mix anything up this year. I didn't want a single mystery plant. I've ended up potting up three of the rogue sprouts anyway. Oh well. Maybe the result will be something cool.