It’s time to place my seedlings in their permanent homes!
All of my veggies were stared from seeds this year. I had an excellent germination rate by combining the forces of the BioDome and Park Seed Co. quality seeds. Germination was so good, in fact, that I was able to plant everything that I wanted and I had a few extra plants to give to my mom.
I also cheated a bit. Many planting guides suggest putting 2-3 seeds in each hole and then thinning the plants when they get bigger. This seems like homicide! So this year I only planted 1-2 seeds per hole and did just fine. When cases allowed it, I preserved the plant I’d normally thin without hurting the plant I intended to keep.
Warning: this is kinda stupid and only recommended in situations where you can clearly see how to save both plants. If your sponge/starter kit looks like the bed below, just thin the plants and cut your loses!
|The roots are too intertwined to separate. Just pinch off the plant you don’t want!|
|Don’t kill me. Free me!|
I waited two weeks and the plants did just fine! They were ready for transplant along with their brothers and sisters. I was only able to do this twice but that’s two more food-bearing plants for my garden 🙂
The other transplants were less eventful, thinning the tomatoes and peppers so that only the strongest remained by the time that they reached their permanent homes in the soil.
I was fortunately enough to have my niece and her friend help me put the plants into the garden. It was nice to have little helpers, even if one little niece of mine was more fascinated with the wind through the trees than the garden.
|Hey, that hat is fabulous. You wish you had one!|
My fruit were a bit different. I started the strawberry plants from seeds but ordered my blueberries and blackberries as bare root plants. They looked like something out of an Aliens versus Predator movie, all gnarled, twisted and otherworldly. I swear, I walked by them everyday for about two weeks just waiting for them to do something.
|In the beginning, the blackberry bare root plants look like measly sticks.|
|Then they sprout thick, fuzzy-looking leaves like the red patch at the bottom right.|
|Then those weird fuzzy leaves turn into something normal looking like the ones above.|
|My blueberry bush came as a normal looking bush. It has taken well to its new home.|
In any case, we got the plants in the ground just in time for thunderstorms and tornadoes to threaten everything. Yay! NOT. Many of my plants had been in the ground for two weeks but the most recent additions (some peppers) had only been in the ground for three days before “light showers” turned into thunderstorms and tornado warnings on my weather app.
We hadn’t ordered our row covers yet so my husband and I got creative. Alejandro had been taking apart pallets for an upcycled table project. Fortunately, those planks were laying around to help us protect the seeds from heavy rains and winds. We created crossbars over the raised beds and then placed planks over the top to protect the plants from the direct impact of rain and wind. Water would still get through but fortunately it would be dispersed enough to avoid problems. The soil in the raised beds drained well by the next morning and the planks were easy enough to remove.
|The planks were placed directly over the rows of new transplants.|
|See the little guys hiding out under there?|
|This way, the hard rainfall won’t beat them into the ground.|
For the raised beds with the Florida Weave frames, we just draped a tarp over those and anchored it with little bungee cords. (My husband and in-laws have some of the most helpful, random stuff around this house.)
Our garden got such a bad beat down last year. I am glad that we were able to spare them this time around.
The photos below were taken few days after the thunderstorms. Everyone is starting to perk up! We’ve had warm weather (high 70s to low 80s), so I’ve had to give them plenty of water each morning. I’ll soon add mulch to keep the soil moist with less watering.
Mixed variety lettuce in a container on my balcony. They were started from seeds and I clearly didn’t do a good job spacing them, or one patch never grew. The plants are about two weeks old. I water the container twice a day. They’re getting healthier, soon ready to be thinned.
Spinach in container on my balcony, also about three weeks old. It’s having a tougher time but doing better than last year.
My indeterminate tomatoes are loving their home. Like the peppers, they got a head start indoors for six weeks before I planted them in the ground three weeks ago. Most are strong and tall (about 1’+) and are estimated to get four feet tall or taller.
This tomato plant is over 1′ tall. He’s starting to lean and will definitely need support. I’ll start the Florida Weave on this row this weekend.
The plants in these little mounds are the beginnings of three cucumber plants. They’re neighbors with the tomatoes. They are only about a week old, though, since I direct sowed them. They got a slow start during the cooler weather right before the storm and they’re just now starting to show some spunk. It’s my first time growing cucumbers.
More sweet pepper plants! (The little white strips on the left are where I threw a few pieces of leftover herb tape, basil and cilantro, I think.) That far left row gets the least amount of sunlight, maybe 4-5 hours, so I’m not expecting the plants back there to get very large.
The peppers grow more slowly than the tomatoes so they’re shorter even through they were started indoors at the same time. The stalks are still getting quite strong and tall, 6″-10″ now. They’ve grown several centimeters in the past few days since the storm!