Monday, March 25, 2013

Messy Seed Starting

Despite appearances, my seed starting has actually gone pretty well this year. I complain about doing it, but there is no other way to get the exact varieties you want unless you tend seedlings in the dregs of winter. 
I also feel like it is something every gardener should know how to do, but I can't say I enjoy it. Even with a timer to turn on the light and heat mat (a necessity), I still find the exercise fraught with anxiety--will the seedlings dry out, will they get damping off? But luckily, I cannot say my trepidation has anything to do with lack of success, as the last two years I grew my own eggplant and peppers, and I decided to throw in tomatoes this year. For everything else, I direct sow.
This year I planted the rest of my Listada di Gandia eggplant, some Tunisian baklouti peppers (perfect for making harissa), lipstick peppers (small and sweet), and two varieties of tomato: "Japanese black trifele" and "Tess's land race." The land race is the "potato leaf" seedling on the far right--my first one of those. All seeds available from Baker Creek.
I worried the biodegradable pots would, well, degrade, but there is only some growth on the outside of the pots (the white spots), which does not seem to be harmful to the seedlings. The tomato plant in the center rear looks a little rough--I think it got singed by the light (a complication when some seedlings take off before all the others) but has recovered.
I potted the more established seedlings up yesterday, into larger biodegradable pots since the small ones worked out so well. The next test will be acclimating them to outside weather, if spring ever comes.