Friday, April 10, 2009

Meanwhile, indoors...

Despite a springlike day here and there, a chilling frost or a torrential downpour could throw a wrench into some of the best-laid garden plans. The growth of some of the seeds I started outdoors a few weeks ago seems somewhat delayed. March Temperatures in New England were slightly below normal; this might explain why my snap peas haven't yet germinated. So when Dan from Urban Veggie Garden Blog suggested starting some seeds indoors, I took his advice and planted about a dozen. If they grow successfully I can transplant them in any empty spaces along my pea trellis.
With the help of a grow light, the seeds I have started indoors are coming along, with mixed results. Most notable is the broccoli, which was all planted on March 15. The variable here has been the growing medium; in the photo above the plants on the right were started in an organic potting mix, while I used a more conventional non-organic mix with the plants on the left. It appears that I have had more success with the non-organic medium, though I wonder if the seedlings are a little too leggy. Both mixes are Miracle-Gro (you can compare them--they're the second and third products here), but my not-so-expert theory is that more fertilizer in the regular product has resulted in more growth. The coarser nature of the organic, which is 50-55% composted bark, might inhibit it.
Here are my tomatoes, started on March 23 in the organic medium. I planted three varieties: Cosmonaut Volkov, Cherokee Purple, and Rose de Berne, all from Fedco seeds, but at this point the seedlings are indistinguishable.

In choosing a more limited variety of seeds this year, I'm moving more toward subsistence. I omitted snow peas because I could barely harvest enough at one time for a stir fry. Quantity is not as much of an issue for snap peas, which are often eaten raw and in any amount. In fact, they rarely make it into a bowl or steamer before they are consumed. Most importantly, as in the case of the broccoli, snap peas, lettuce, and spinach, these vegetables will be accepted by even the most finicky eaters in my house (I will not name names...).

1 comment:

Dan said...

Your broccoli seedlings are looking great! We planted tomatoes around the same time, I planted the bulk of the tomatoes march 20th. Looks like your new grow light works very well.I have never eaten a snap pea but I am growing them for the first time this year.

I have started to harden my broccoli plants off outside on any sunny warm day. They spend a few morning hours in the sun and then I place them in the shade for the afternoon. I can plant them out April 20th-May 1st in my climate, can't wait to get them in the soil.