I thought today I would backtrack & go over some of the seeds that I started back in February, pre-blog. This way, when you see me planting, say, my parsley, you won’t be asking yourself – “hey…where did that come from?”
The first seeds that I sowed were my hot pepper seeds in mid-February. Peppers are a vegetable that I had no luck with in my first garden many years ago and have not grown since. So, in terms of experience, I am starting from scratch on this one and I knew the learning curve would be huge – and I was right.
I started the hot peppers first ("Hungarian Hot Wax") because I had read that they can take a long time to germinate. And boy, they weren’t kidding. I sowed the seeds on February 19th and by March 2nd I still had no germination. I was getting a bit anxious so I decided to pre-germinate more seeds. Even these took a long time, the first germinating 11 days later!
To make a long story short, on March 15th the first hot pepper sown in February emerged from the soil – that’s one month later! Lesson learned here – always pre-germinate peppers, especially hot peppers. At least this way I will know if the seeds are not viable within a relatively short period of time so that I can start new seeds and not be too far behind (11 days vs. 1 month!!).
By contrast, the sweet peppers ("King of the North") were a variable breeze – I placed the seeds in paper towels to pre-germinate on March 2nd and they germinated three days later. I sowed them in cell packs and they emerged from the soil in 7 days. Easy peasy - comparatively speaking that is.
So here are my pepper plants now:
|Hot & Sweet Peppers - "Hungarian Hot Wax" & "King of the North"|
You will notice that there are a few cells that have nothing in them. These are the hot peppers sown in February that never germinated. I sowed 8 cells (2 seeds in each) and only 4 have germinated. At one point I was even anxious about the pre-germinated seeds as they seemed to be taking a long time to pop up after I sowed them. I ended up sowing several more sweet peppers, just in case. So what you see in the picture are pepper plants that are all at various stages of growth. And as a final note, the last of the February sown hot peppers germinated yesterday - geez! I know that gardeners are supposed to be patient, but really – a two month wait for germination?
On to parsley and collards. No story here (thank God!). For the parsley, I sowed two flat leaf varieties that I had from last year - “Comune 2” and “Gigante di Napoli”. I soaked the seeds overnight, then sowed them on March 13th. Comune 2 emerged on March 23 and Gigante appeared 3 days later.
I also sowed 2 varieties of collards – “Vates”, which I grew
last year and were fabulous (other than my battle with cabbage worms & slugs)
and a new one called “Beira Tronchuda” which is a Portuguese variety. According to the William Dam
catalogue, Beira is “sweet and tender having better flavour...than collards”. I pre-germinated the seeds and they only took
one day to germinate – now that’s what I like to see! I then sowed 3 of each variety. Collards can grow pretty large & since I
only have a 2’ x 3’ space allocated for them, 6 is my limit (using a 12” spacing).
|Flat Leaf Parsley - "Comune 2 & Gigante de Napoli"|
|Collards - "Vates" & "Beira Tronchuda"|
The only other vegetables that I started in February/March were onions & shallots. I’m a true allium lover - I mean, they are right up there on my list with tomatoes – no kidding! So I will be doing a separate post on those because they deserve VERY special treatment.
At the moment I am hardening off my collard & onion seedlings. The raised beds for these seedlings are nowhere near built (haven’t even purchased the wood yet – guess what I’m doing tomorrow..) but I figure that hardening them off will give me that added push to get my beds done ASAP.