real onions sprouts and more sowing

Root Vegetables, Starting Seeds

seeds 6 seeds 5
seeds 7 seeds 1
seeds 4
seeds 8 seeds 3

My onions finally sprouted. It took 8-9 days. Of the 3 varieties I planted, I have low germination of one (red), none in another (White Portugal), and good germination of the third (Sweet Yellow Spanish). Pretty little sprouts. So brave and bright!

Today I planted seeds for lavender, thyme and celeriac. These are supposed to be started 8-10 weeks before frost.

I also started 4 pots of tomato plants – very early, just to see if I can get a very early tomato. These will need to be transplanted to large pots long before they can go out to the garden, not something I can do for many plants. But I’ve read this works for others. Sure would be nice to have a real tomato soon!

I used my coarse planting soil in the bottom half of the cells and new fine soil at the top. The sun is very warm a bright as it shines in the window on my planting trays. At midday, I think its brighter than the lights. The lights extend the daylight hours though.

2009 sow-what-and-when

14 Comments. Leave new

  • That’s great that they have started to germinate! I figured they would, just a little slower then fresher seed.

    hmm, that one seed pack looks familiar… the brandywine would be a good one to get started early as it take so long to fruit. I have been contemplating how I am going to plant my early tom’s outside. I have been thinking of wrapping the tomato cage with clear plastic and then using one of those ‘wall-o-water’ things to hold the suns heat. Maybe even a light bulb or tea light candle inside on the coldest nights. I think garden desk plants his out some time in April. What has your thoughts been?

  • I really need to get off my duff tomorrow and get my seeds started! Your seedlings look great Kathy, and you inspired me to do a blog post on what is involved in keeping backyard chickens (I just posted it.)

  • Gretta just sent me an email about this backyard chicken class, taught by a Belmont chicken owner! At Codman Farm in Lincoln in May. What fun.

  • Kathy,

    What Thyme did you plant? We bought one plant of Mother of Thyme and by the end of the year it was a 2ft x 3ft mass, the next year it was double that. I use a lot in cooking but no way can our cooking needs keep it at bay.

  • Your seedlings look so strong! Do you use the same soil combo for all veg, or is it plant specific?

  • P.S. – on tomato seedlings; I generally transplant them twice. They come out of the cell trays when they get to be about 2 inches tall and have two sets of true leaves in addition to their cotyledon leaves. My two inch pots are just recycled yogurt containers with holes drilled in the bottom (there is a picture on my blog header), and you can also roll you own 2 inches pots from newspaper with one of those fun pot maker tools (Seeds of Change sells it.)
    When they get to be over 3 inches tall they go into 4 inch pots I’ve saved over the years from garden centers, and they stay in those containers until they get transplanted into the garden.
    Plants like melons that don’t like root disturbance are germinated right from the start in the 4 inch pots, and and I do the same with plants that have big seeds like squashes and Castor Bean.

  • Thanks Phyllis. I’m just starting to figure out the transplanting part of growing vegetables from seed. I’ll start saving yogurt containers now.

  • Dan, I think I’ll just wait til its warm to transplant the early tomatoes to the garden. I leave them in big pots that I can bring inside if necessary until then. I don’t like worrying about them being out on a very cold night and if the pot is big enough, I don’t think you gain anything by planting them outside. What do you think? Any reason not to just go with big pots til May?

  • Randy, The thyme variety I planted is German Winter from Johnny’s Selected Seeds. I wish I were in a nice warm climate like you, but I have had lots of trouble getting thyme to over-winter here. It seems like every year I buy a thyme plant and every winter it dies.

    Johnny’s describes German Winter Thyme as: “The standard winter hardy thyme. Good flavor and yield. Perennial in zones 5-8.” Its an evergreen 12 inch shrub. (I’m in zone 6.)

    I looked up Mother of Thyme – Park seed sells seed – and it looks awesome. A low ground cover or edging plant, 2 to 6 inches high and 3 foot wide masses! Purple flowers. And they say its hardy to zone 4. If I find a plant, I’ll try this one too!

    In looking around on line now, I also see thyme is a short lived perennial that needs to be regrown from seed or cuttings every few years. It overwinters best in a very well drained poor soil. I’ll see if I can find find a location where it will be happy. Maybe add some sand to my soil for it.

    Thyme is a really versatile herb and I’d love to grow some decent quantities of it.

    I was going to say thyme is my favorite herb, but then I thought about rosemary, basil, dill, cilantro and parsley. So much for a single favorite….

  • living calzone,

    I don’t really know much about potting soil and hate to comment on it. I buy the biggest cheapest bag I can find locally and use the same stuff for everything.

    I buy soil with fertilizer already added.

    The potting soil (Scott’s) I bought the year is very coarse. It looks like barely composted bark mulch. I planted my first seeds in this then decided it was too coarse and bought a like seed started mix (MiracleGro). It is just peat and fertilizer. I am now putting the coarse stuff in the bottom half of cells and light stuff at top.

    I think strong seedlings mostly has to do with strong light.

  • P.S.S. – another tomato observation! In our climate (Mass) the challenge with tomatoes in early spring is that we can have very warm days but our nights are still really cold; think of our typical spring day with day temps in the 60’s that drop down to the 30’s a night. Plus, we can easily have a hard frost right up to the first two weeks of May. Tomato seedlings don’t like cold nights, so the advantage of keeping them in a big pot until transplant is that you can harden them off by leaving them outside during the day and bring them in at night. A cold frame will do the same thing, but for a first time seed starter moving them back into the house or garage at night works just as well.

  • I had not thought of planting the tomatoes in a large pot but it sounds like a good idea. Then you could easily bring them in and out.

    The large pot combined with a some form of plastic covering should allow them to be out many of the days in April soaking up the suns rays.

  • looking at your seed packs and sprouts reminds me of my classroom and makes me smile. gardening has been such a good thing for my spirit

  • I don;t know what it is about sprouts. They are very good for my spirit too.


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