Friday, February 10, 2012

Sprouts, sprouts, sprouts!!!

Basil Sprouts!
Ahh, finally I get a chance to sit down, enjoy a fine Epic beer, and blog about our very first garden!!!

We have transplanted our Marketmore cucumber sprouts to peat pots, adding a small amount (~2 tablespoons) of dry, organic fertilizer to the mix used for all of the pots.  I covered them using a ghetto, homemade mini-greenhouse.  It is made out of flexible wire and plastic wrap.

Our basil sprouts continue to grow, although they pale in comparison to the cucumber sprouts.  We plan to repot them in the near future.

We also have one, tiny roma tomato sprout!!!  Hopefully, more are coming soon.  I have been told that tomato germination requires some heat, and that it will probably take a little longer.

Now that I have gained a tiny bit of experience using the "self-watering" seed starters, I have decided that they have some minor drawbacks:

  • I used really thick cotton twine, which may be making the soil too moist.
  • They disconnect the soil/seed containers from the heat source, which I discovered it probably the most important aspect for germinating.
  • Look carefully.  A roma sprout!!
  • The cucumber sprouts were root-bound to the moist cotton twine, stressing my green children.
I think I will switch to the more conventional seed starting trays and heat pads when I get my next paycheck.  I am still trying to think of a way to ensure a continuous amount of moisture to the seeds, but I don't mind watering on a regular basis.
I am really excited about growing things, so I have been watching several YouTube videos to soak up some ideas.  Its weird, but when searching for "germinating seeds" and "container gardens" an enormous amount of boob videos come up as search results.

But, there are a few decent videos that I liked:

Also, because I have been giving our sprouts attention, I have also been tending to our existing plants.  I am slowing bringing our aloe plants and cacti back to life.  I think our pots are way to small for these plants.  The soil for the aloe plant also seems to drain way too fast.
Greenhouse containing cucumber sprouts.

Tips for proper germination:

  • warm soil (some say as warm as 80 degrees F).
  • moist (not soggy) soil
  • fresh soil - use fresh, organic soil not grabbed from outside
  • seeds not too deep - about 1 cm
Notice I didn't put "light" on that list.  Light is important one the true leave on the seedlings start.  Note that the pros in the large-scale seed starting video did not use light until after the seeds sprouted.  They had a moist heat source.

Fresh soil decreases the probability of loosing your green babies (not boogers) to mold or fungus.

Tips for proper transplant:

  • minimize root trauma by using soil blocks - make sure the soil is still a little loose and not too compacted;  my uncle uses egg cartons and soil - he cuts the cartons when he is ready to repot
  • water after transplant and make sure the new soil stays moist (not soggy).

Is it dead?

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