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March 06, 2005

One week update of seeds started.

As I noted somewhere in the neighborhood of a week ago, I started my 2005 seeds last weekend about this time. Presuming the way I had things set up -- a day spectrum fluorescent lamp and bed warmers, set on a schedule to run from somewhere around sunup to sundown, with cooling at night -- I'd have a few things sprouting by now, I was happy to let it go at that.

Okay, let me be honest. For one thing, I suspect I rather overwatered the peat pills. I'm guessing I put somewhere in the neighborhood of three-quarters of a gallon of water in each 72-pellet starter bed, for one thing. For another, I did a standard mix of Miracle-Gro in the first quart of water in each starter bed. As much as anything, it was to allow for the neglect I sometimes visit on started sprouts, since I know I kill houseplants by overwatering most of the time (cf the amaryllis upstairs on the mantel in the living room, which has more brown than green on it, by now).

So, anyway, I think I'm succeeding to the point I'll ultimately fail. Let me show you why:

That's what I've got as of this morning. One week in, with traces of snow still refusing to melt in the shadowed corners, I have Texas bluebonnets showing the first 'cheat' leaves in the first tray. The biggest one sprouted on Tuesday. These, mind you, are plants that are perennials only in Zone 8 or thereabouts. With the household temps at the comfy range for humans -- the setback thermostat keeps the daytime temp at a habitable 68, dropping to around 60 at night, and the heating pad under the starter bed only runs ten or so hours a day -- those stupid bastards already are off and running like this was the freakin' Bahamas or something. Just proves that politicians aren't the only intellectually challenged thing that claims to come from Texas, for my money.

Here's a closeup of the damned idiot plants that will probably get leggy and die on me before I get them outside into the provisional cold frame (more later):


And the lobelias and/or delphinium(a), and I don't know, maybe forget-me-nots, I'm not sure:


Yeah, so using Miracle-Gro is, apparently, the magical key to getting seeds to sprout. We'll find out, this year, if it's also the magical key to wasting a sawbuck or three on seeds only to have them turn into liquefied shit long before it's warm enough outside to stick the bastards in the ground.

Here's the second tray:


The first two rows of this tray are, as I noted before, cayenne pepper seeds from plants we grew last year, which may very well be illegal to sprout at home, for all I can remember the labeling on the plants when we bought them. Come on, that was just a hair shy of a year ago. I only remember what I ate for lunch of Wednesday last week because I eat the same damn thing for lunch every day -- do you really expect me to remember if there was a freakin' label on the peppers almost a year ago telling me I was a delinquent if I saved the seeds and planted them the next year? What do you think I am, an Iraqi farmer who didn't choose Monsanto GM crops and now I'll have to go to jail because I recycled some seeds?

Yeah, well. Es la vida -- I doubt Monsanto would find it profitable to sue me for the three or four cayenne plants that might, if the universe holds together for another four or five weeks, make it into the containers. My guess is not -- I'm generally shooting damp blanks with anything I start in the house.

Another shot of the tray, with a close-up of my (possibly stolen) pepper starts. They're actually coming up, though they're not obvious in this photo -- the next night's shot would show more, but I'm scrute if I'm going in there again with the Olympus just to show you some bright yellow knuckles coming up out of the peat pellets that might not show up on the camera yet anyway. You'll just have to trust me that the plants I'm destined to destroy before they make it outdoors are already starting in these little wads of dirt:


Last night (Friday), I also planted some stuff in rows three through seven. Three, four and five are now set with cinnamon basil seeds, and six and seven are what's called 'sweetness' dianthus (pinks).

I also planted more tonight (Saturday), since the pellets actually sprouted something this year, and most of what I put in there last night and today was supposed to have a one-week sprout date (the stuff that's already an inch or more tall was supposed to take two to three weeks under normal conditions; that it took off so quickly indoors really makes me wonder if they'd have taken nearly that long au naturel, though). I guess by next weekend, I'll have Texas bluebonnets (which were, for a while, protected even in their home state, probably because Texas didn't have the good sense not to shit in its own living room for a decade or so when you-know-who was 'in charge' of things down there) growing through the freakin' ceiling of the laundry room, and poblanos (I planted regular basil, onyx basil and poblano peppers today) will be hanging off the washing machine.

Or they'll all croak by St. Patrick's day, and a fine top o' the mornin' to you!

I'll be back as soon as either the bluebonnets eat the grow light or there's something more to take pictures of. If I'm lucky, instead of just growing mold like the starter beds did one year here, I'll get a crop of shiitake or something to make it all worthwhile even if that thirty bucks' worth of seeds croaks it before I have a chance to set it in the ground.

Oh, yeah -- I also wasted the time to buy the plastic to stretch over the existing shelves to try to 'cold frame' the stuff so I can harden it off before I put it in the ground and it croaks on me there. I'll take some pictures when I put the plastic on the shelves, so we can all have a good laugh at the mildew.

And the roses aren't even here from Austin yet. I haven't even ordered the flowering almonds from Spring Hill.

It doesn't matter if I have a bad feeling about it, though -- some things, like the dwarf rosebush on the back corner of the 'workshop' (in English, we'd call it a 'useless swamp,' but 'workshop' is realtor-ese for the same thing, as most people know who've ever bought a house that had a 'workshop' worthy of the irony quotes) thrive in spite of mediocre locations and half-assed care.

Remember the Maine! Or something.

Posted by Melinda at March 6, 2005 02:42 AM


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