Tuesday, March 24, 2009

Pepper Frustration

Let's talk about indoor seeds for a little bit. For the most part my indoor seed starting has been going well this year. I'm not going to talk so much about the stuff that is doing well - instead here are the things that are not doing so well...
  1. Peppers - I did indoor plantings of various peppers on 3/9 & 3/11. I did about 30 seeds total. I planted 3 kinds (California Bell, Serano Hot, and Aneheim Chili). All these seeds were at least one year old and the Seranos and Aneheims were two years old. So far I only have 6 seedlings spouting. They are all from the 3/9 planting. The best I can tell is five of the six sprouted seedlings are California wonder Bells from Shumway 2008 seeds). I may have one serano chili (2007 seeds) up as well. I read this morning that peppers sometimes take 21 days to germinate and that they need heat. Well it hasn't been 21 days yet, and it certainly ain't hot in our house! I'll give it another couple of weeks before I pull out the seed starter mix again and fire up another batch. If I do, I'll likely only use 2008 seeds, which will limit my variety this year.
  2. Delphinium and foxglove - I had to go back to the old three ring binder to figure out when I started these seeds. Looks like these were a new years project - started in a wet paper towel on Jan 3rd. Here it is almost three months later and the results are pretty disappointing. The delphs are about 1 inch to 2 inches tall with three leaves min each, but they are yellow and certainly aren't thriving. The foxglove are even worse. None are bigger than an 1/8 inch and although they have 4 leaves they are so small you can barely see them. These seeds have been growing under grow lights in an east facing window sill forever. Last year we tried delphs as well and had only one successful transplant. It went in the ground at about the same size as our current batch. Sarah thinks she saw it yesterday - it is still alive.
  3. Moulin Rouge sunflower and leeks - These were both planted on 3/9. The other sunflowers that were planted the same day are about 3 inches tall already. I got these seeds in an exchange, so am not sure how old they are or weather they were saved or not. The leeks I also got in an exchange, but they came in packet from seed savers. I think they were 2008 seeds. I think they will eventually emerge. I've never grown leeks before so I don't know how long I should expect them to take to germinate.
  4. impatiens - besides being super small, only about 1/2 of these seeds germinated. We planted two and 1/2 flats - probably about 200 seeds total and I think we'll be lucky to wind up with 75 plants. Right now they are about 1/2 tall. I started these on feb 2nd. Last year we had limited success with these as well. We transplanted them to their garden homes at no bigger than 1/4 inch, but all those that lived turned into fine mature impatiens with tons of flowers. So even if these are painful to watch struggle inside - I think it is worth it. Two $2 seed packs will give me 75 fine annuals. That is much cheaper than nursery stock.
I planted approx 50 red onion transplants from Chapons yesterday evening. It is 25 degrees again this morning, and these aren't protected by a cold frame. I hope they made it through the night. I am having my struggles with onions so far this year.

Today's photos are various pea planting paraphanalia - including the fabulous tepee. One is also a shot of the onions I planted.

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