Thursday, March 27, 2014

My Seedlings are Growing! Indoor Seed Update 3/27/2014

It started out at 30 degrees this morning with a little snow coming down. But we are expecting temps close to 55 today! Up and down with the temperatures. Makes you wonder how summer temps will be.
Let's check on how my seedlings are doing.

Above is my tray of giant jalapeno seedlings. They are growing so well. Most of my seedlings have grown to over the height of the cup. They all have their second set of leaves in. I added about 4 tablespoons of new dirt in each cup to help strengthen my seedlings. They are all standing tall!

My second tray of seedlings carries brussels sprouts, cayenne, habanero, poblano and cubanelle peppers. Sadly, one of my cubanelle pepper seeds didn't come up. That's ok, I still have 3 more which is plenty for us.
Oh, and my habanero seed never came up either, so I replanted and have two small seedlings growing in the same cup. That's ok too. They will catch up once they are in the ground. I found that out last year. My brussels sprouts were the first to come up of all the seeds and are looking mighty fine.  All these seedlings are not as tall as the jalapenos yet. But I did add 2-3 tablespoons of dirt in each cup to help them out.

Here are some closeups of my seedlings.

Giant jalapenos growing extremely well. Aren't they looking good? I love the giant jalapenos because we stuff them with cheese and herbs, wrap in bacon and grill them. I can just taste them now. Bring on summer!!

Above far right and the plant in front are my 3 cubanelle peppers. Growing well. In the way back to the left are my 2 little habanero plants. My 2 poblano plants are between the cubanelle and habaneros. Certainly not as tall as the jalapenos. But they will get there.

In the far left hand corner is my one cayenne pepper. It was the first pepper seedling to come up. Still kind of short. This is the first time growing this pepper. I'm hoping for lots of cayenne peppers so I can make my own cayenne powder. We use that quite a bit here.

And here is my biggest brussels sprout plant. I have 3 of them. One is kind of puny, and the other is big, but doesn't stand up straight. First time growing these as well. Always interesting growing something new.

Keep on growing! You'll be in the ground one of these days, my little pretties!

Thursday, March 20, 2014

First Day of Spring!

Happy first day of spring! 
Woke up this morning and opened up the drapes and this is what I saw! 
Snow. Bah humbug!

This past winter has continued to defy us! Well, I know that the temperature is rising and we should end up with approximately 49 degrees as a high today. Maybe more. The snow is just about melted already. Yes! Time to kick old man winter to the curb! Tomorrow is supposed to get to 60, and then our luck changes again. Back to cold weather. This up and down stuff will be changing soon, and the thought of snow will be in the distant past. I hope.

I then looked at my all my seeds that I planted indoors. They are doing very well. It really makes you think of SPRING!! I'll have to add more dirt to the cups soon as my seedlings continue to grow. Who is not ready for spring and gardening to begin?!!

Monday, March 3, 2014

Preparing for Spring. Planting Seeds Indoors.

Who's ready for spring? With all the snow and cold we've had this winter, I really shouldn't have a need to ask! This past weekend, we got 4 more inches of snow, and now the chill factor came back to greet us with subzero temps again. #Chiberia is a fun place to live!

I usually plan to start my seeds indoors about 2 months before Mother's Day. Around the Chicago area, Mother's Day is usually a good day to plant outside. Of course, give or take a week or so, depending on this crazy weather we have. This past weekend was the time to start my seeds indoors. Time to get my hands dirty!

My setup is extremely simple. I have a small shelving unit with three shelves. This year, I'm only using 2 shelves. A couple of years ago, my husband and I bought 2 growing trays with the covers and little heating pads that goes with them. So we will use those. The bottom tray is so very light plastic, that I've noticed it has started to crack and break. Something to worry about next year.

Usually I start my plants in small clear plastic cups (with holes drilled into the bottom of the cup). Then I transplant to a bigger cup with more dirt when the seedlings are big enough. This year, I sent my husband on a mission to get 16oz clear plastic cups. I will add dirt as the seedlings grow in the same cup. Well, the husband came home with clear green cups. He said that was all he could find in the size that I wanted. The stores probably just had the green cups out to try to sell for St Patrick's Day. Ah well, we go with the flow!

The husband was kind enough to drill the holes in the bottom of the cups. I labeled each cup with a black Sharpie pen, as to what seed was going to grow there. I mistakenly didn't label last year. What I got was a habanero growing in amongst my cubanelle peppers. So this year, I labeled!

Filled each cup halfway with gardening soil. Then it was time to plant the seeds. In went 13 giant jalapenos, 4 cubanelle, 3 brussels sprouts,  2 poblano peppers, 1 cayenne and 1 habanero. Added some water to each cup. Placed the lid on the plants and made sure the little heating pads were plugged in.

I don't have grow lights. Maybe one day I will, but it is not this day! My plants face the north. Not optimum for the best sun. But it is the best and biggest area available to grow my seedlings. They do tend to grow "leggy".  When it's time, I just place them deeper into the ground, maybe stake them up for awhile, and they take off like crazy. Never had too much of a problem with "leggy" plants. Leggy meaning spindly stalks.

Now comes the best part. Waiting to see my seedlings pop up through the soil. Let's do some growing!