Category Archives: Starting Seedlings from Seeds

This Season’s Tomato & Pepper Seedlings

The Tomato and Pepper seedlings are coming along very well.
I started the tomatoes and peppers in small seed starting plug trays – with between 72 and 128 cells in each flat. This works very well.

I put at least 2 seeds in each hole, sometimes more if I think the pepper seeds won’t germinate well. I had almost full pepper germination! I have a hard time just pinching off the extra seedling, so I end up pulling the plug out, separating the roots and replanting them in recycled plastic plant holders. I put the one of the seedlings back into the plug tray using the original seed starting mix and I use garden soil/potting mix to plant the extra seedlings.

These Rutgers are the extra tomatoes that I replanted instead of just pinching them off. They are all doing well – this picture is a week old. Tomato and pepper seedlings seem to transplant very well with no stunting.

transplanted tomato seedlings

Tomato seedlings in the original plug trays.  You can see Arizona Cypress seedlings in small pots.

tomato seedlings

These are 2 pepper plug trays.  Hot peppers are in one tray and sweet peppers in another.  These are not quite big enough for me to want to transplant them yet.   I am very pleased with the pepper germination.

transplanted tomato seedlings

I learned to seed tomatoes and peppers in separate trays because tomatoes germinate quicker and I can put them out in the cool greenhouse earlier.  I have to keep the peppers in the warm house longer as they fully germinate and this would cause any tomato seedlings to not get sufficient sun and get leggy.  Peppers also take longer for all different varieties to fully germinate and so I have to put them out in the sun during the day, then bring them back into the warm house for the night, then back outside the next day.  They only go out to the cooler greenhouse after all varieties have finally germinated.

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Wasp Spray Kills Wasps & Broccoli Seedlings

I have several trays of cabbage and broccoli seedlings on a porch table. We have a red wasp nest in the soffit above the table. A red wasp dive-bombed me so I sprayed toward it, not thinking about my seedlings. A breeze blew some of the insecticide onto the nearest seedlings. Within a few minutes the seedlings shriveled and the nearest were dead.

wasp sprayed seedlings

Note: don’t spray chemicals ANYWHERE around seedlings.

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Some Cabbage Heads, Some Cabbage Bolts

It must be the crazy winters down south.  The temperature variations must throw the cabbage plants off.  This past winter started out with an early frozen blast, then was mild for most of the winter and then ended in another frozen blast.

I get my thrills starting my cabbages and broccoli from seed.  Due to lack of garden space, I planted these in the tomato bed after the toms died out for the summer.  Both of these are early cabbages.  I would like to grow late cabbage, but it takes an additional 60 plus days to grow those large 8 to 10 pound heads.  I’m planning a couple of beds in the back where I will be able to grow my winter garden and will be able to fence the beds in and pull chicken wire over the top to keep the critters and deer out.

This pic shows heading cabbage next to cabbage that is forming its seed head, called bolting.  The empty spaces once held broccoli that has already been fully harvested.

cabbage going to seed and some heading

Here is a closeup.  From the leaves, these 2 plant look to both be Copenhagen Market cabbages.  They were started at the same time, from the same seed pack and planted the same day, however one forms a head and one bolts.  Why?
close up of cabbage bolting

Closeup of a decent head forming.  This is probably Copenhagen Market, but could be Glory of Enkhuizen.  Both are early cabbage, which means that the heads are smaller (maybe about 3 pound heads) because they are an early cabbage.
cabbage heading

A nice head of broccoli.  After I picked this head, side shoots formed.
broccoli closeup

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A Buckeye Update – They All Made It!

Upon closer examination of the 4 pots with buckeyes planted in them, I realized that they all did infact sprout.  The other 4 just hadn’t surfaced yet, but their roots were growing out of the pots.  I’m very pleased.  The buckeye/firecracker plant is a real gem.

Circled in red are the 2 buckeyes that sprouted first.  (Notice a sprouting pine in the pot on the right)

sprouting buckeyes

I had gathered 6 buckeyes, all from the same 3′ plant down the driveway.  It is said that the germination rate of these plants is about 50%, but it looks like I achieved 100%!!  These other 4 pots have not yet sprouted so I looked at the bottom of them and noticed these large roots growing out of the holes.  To get some of them out, I had to cut the bottom of the pots.  Oh joy, now I have 6 buckeyes to go plant in the woods, not too far from the house.  Now that I know what I am dealing with, I will be on the lookout for the buckeye seeds by next September.  I now know what to look for as far as the seed pods on the plants.
roots growing out of the bottom of the pots

Today is about 3 weeks since I have cut out and re-potted these seedlings and most have them are now popping thru the soil surface!!!  I’m really thrilled as this such an interesting plant although it has no food value.  The plant does well in full sun, but the ones in our woods are in mostly shade, as shall these be once I get them planted out in the next few weeks.

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The Bluebonnets That I Seeded Last Fall Are Sprouting

Last fall I collected several dozen Bluebonnet seeds from 2 Bluebonnets that popped up in the yard last summer.  I watched the flowers and kept them out of danger until the seed pods turned brown and were safe to pick.  I planted half of the seeds around the giant Turkey oak that they sprouted by.  The other day I found 2 of the dozen and half or so seeds had sprouted!

sprouting bluebonnets

They’re tough little sprouts.  They survived the freeze, rain and whatever else.  Now I need to protect them until they grow up and produce even more seeds.

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Baby White Oaks

This past fall was the year most of the giant white oaks around here dropped their acorns.  Since they only do this every 2 or 3 years, I gathered a few hundred of the acorns – at least half of them after they started to sprout all over the ground.  For many of those acorns sprouting all over the place, I walked thru the woods and planted them here and there, giving them a chance to grow – they won’t be able to grow up under the big trees in the yard where they  sprouted..  For the chosen few hundred, I have them rooting in pots.

This is one of them.  They send out roots first and then a few months later they send up the tree.  This little sprout has the potential to grow into 60+ foot beauties.

white oak sprout

In 50 years or so, maybe this little guy will look like this:

white oak

I haven’t tried to grow so many oak seedling before, so I’ll have to see how it goes.  I have stacks of used greenhouse tree pots and I make my own potting soil using bags of cheap, sandy ‘compost’, black-cow compost, bags of commercial pine and hardwood mulch that has been in the bag and composting for a few years, and add some vermiculite and perilite.  I also now add Azomite to my potting soil.

We don’t have a very large population of squirrels around here, so the few hundred acorns that I sprout shouldn’t affect them much.

The red oak acorns, mostly turkey oaks and water oaks, are chilling in moist peat moss in the refrigerator until this spring.

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The Cactus Shelf

Finally got the greenhouse just about all set up, 2 years after we moved!  This is a shot of my cactus shelf.

cactus shelf

Some are started from seed and some are propagated by cuttings from larger cactus.  Love those little cactus.  This is the baby cactus shelf, the larger cactus are sitting around the green house.

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Buckeyes Have Sprouted

Two of the six buckeye seeds that I planted last fall have sprouted.  This is the nicest one, the other one has small red leaves still twisted and compacted, not yet opened.  I hope I didn’t damage the other buckeye when I had to cut it out of it’s plastic seedling pot when the root grew thru a hole.

buckeye seedlings

These buckeyes have enormous roots – many times thicker than the plant stem.  That is probably to be expected as the buckeye seed is so large.  Note to self:  next year when I look for more buckeyes to plant, closely monitor the root development so they don’t grow out of the bottom of the pot, actually just go ahead and use my deepest seedling pots.

Not the best picture, but here it is.

buckeye roots

As soon as danger of any real frost is over, in a month or 2, I need to get these seedlings planted in their final location.  Such a neat plant.

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Two of My Buckeyes Have Sprouted!

As stated in a prior post, I was surprised to find a half dozen buckeyes sitting under what I thought was a ‘Fire-cracker Plant’, only to find out that a Buckeye and Fire-cracker plant are one and the same.

Buckeyes have a 50-50 germination rate and the un-planted seed deteriorates quickly, so I planted them the next day or so.  Well, that was the end of October.  Now, almost 2 months later, at least 2 of the buckeyes have sprouted.  Oh the joy!

some buckeyes have sprouted

Since I now know what to look for and what to do with them, each fall I’ll gather the buckeyes and sprout as many as I can.

They grow in partial shade in our woods, although literature indicates that they also like full sun. ‘ll leave them in this greenhouse until spring, then I need to get them planted in a safe, final location this spring.

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Buckeyes!

Today, when walking to the mail box, I saw them – six of them – clustered together under what I thought was a Firecracker plant next to the driveway.
buckeyes

Doing a bit of research I found that the Firecracker plant and the buckeye are the SAME plant.

These are large seeds – a bit larger than a whole walnut.  The buckeye at the top looks like it has already started t germinate.  In the top right is a part of the outer shell that holds 2 or 3 of these buckeyes together in their pod.  They reportedly aren’t viable for long so I planted them in small deep pots with potting soil.   If they sprout – they are said to have a 50% germination rate – I will plant them in a deeper pot.  I hope to plant them in the ground in the woods by late spring next year.

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