Cucumbers are supposed to be very sensitive to root disturbance – this tells me that I should use a larger pot than a typical cell pack to start the seeds. But larger pots take up much more space than cell packs, not to mention the extra seed starting mix needed to fill them, so I only use them when necessary. Now, I suppose I could wait and sow the seeds outside instead of bothering with transplants. But our growing season is already too short for my liking - if I can get a longer harvest period by using transplants, then that is what I usually do.
The question is – IS it necessary to use larger pots when starting cucumber seeds? I decided that I was going to find out.
I am growing 3 types of cucumbers this year – “Suyo Long”, “Lemon” and “Garden Sweet Burpless”. For each variety, I sowed seeds in one cell of a cell pack. I need 8 cucumber seedlings in total, so the remaining 5 starts were sown in individual 3” pots. Then the cell pack/pots were placed on the covered heat mat.
Germination took place in only 3 days. Once I transplant these out into the garden later this month, I will label them so that I know which ones grew in the pots & which grew in the cell packs. Then, it's just a matter of noting any significant difference between them.
|Cucumber Seedlings - 3 Days After Sowing|
Out in the garden, I sowed a couple of rows of radishes (white & red) around the collards. I'm not sure if they will germinate or not as I had incorporated soybean meal into the entire bed. Soybean meal apparently inhibits seed germination by up to 50% which is why “they” (I’m never really sure who “they” are) advise to only use it when you are sowing transplants. For me, radishes are nice to have but not essential, so I figured it was worth a shot. Best case, they germinate and I know that I don’t have worry about this in the future when it comes to radishes. Worst case, it becomes a learning experience & I sow radishes in another bed.
On to my pepper plants. I was so excited when I went downstairs last week and found little tiny flower buds on some of my peppers.
And then I promptly pinched off the tops of all the plants that had formed buds. If I let those few buds mature, chances are that my plants would end up being smaller overall with fewer fruits. It takes a lot of energy to produce peppers – energy that would be better spent, at this stage in their lives, on growing a better root system & stockier plant with more branching. So I am being ruthless.
|Off With Their Heads!!|
I decided to try pre-germinating them. Even though I only wanted 2 plants, I placed 6 seeds in a damp paper towel (because OBVIOUSLY there was a high germination failure rate) & placed this on a container in my heat mat tray.
Well, two days later, EVERY SINGLE SEED germinated. Every one. In two days. I was a bit shocked. I sowed the germinated seeds & two days after that, they all emerged from the soil.
|Sunflower - 2 Days After Sowing Germinated Seeds|
So I sit here baffled – I have absolutely NO idea what happened when I sowed them the 1st time. What I DO know, is that I will add sunflowers to the list of plants that I pre-germinate.
The gardening season is now in high gear, at least when it comes to sowing, transplanting, etc. My front porch is seeing a lot of hardening off action.
|Mass Hardening Off Has Started|
I am now hardening off my tomatoes, basil, borage, nasturtium, marigolds, swiss chard and parsley.
Some of the beds that these plants will go into are not yet built, but we are over half-way there. We are adding a total of nine beds. Six of them are constructed & filled - only 3 more to go! And the weather in the last few days has been absolutely maaaarvelous….FINALLY!! With highs in the mid 20’s (C) which, in Fahrenheit is the mid-high 70’s, it is perfect gardening weather.
Till next time…