Saturday, February 25, 2012


Edits and additions will  be in the color which matches the date.

The picture on the left is of lettuce, April 2009, in our Cold frame/Green house at 9A.M.  It is a double layer plastic hoop house.  The light green red tipped lettuce on the right is Prize head.  The darker green on the far left is Bibb.  The Red in the middle is probably Lolla Rossa, a small, very frilly dense lettuce.

You can see the space heaters sitting around.  Occasionally we have dips to 0 in our valley in April.  The hoop house doesn't maintain the heat at those temps at night.  We splurge if we see it will be that cold and turn on the heaters late in the evening to keep the plants from getting freezer burn.

I planted my seed on February 21, 2012.  Normally I would use a propagation chamber to start them in.  The following is the blog I wrote about our propagation chamber we use: 

I didn't use the chamber this time because I wanted to see what results I would have with out it.  Another change I made in my routine was I didn't follow moon signs.  I usually plant seed for plants which grow above ground before the moon comes full,  the dark side is reserved for root crop seed.  When I planted the lettuce the moon was definitely going to the dark side. 

We have a room with large windows which we keep on the cool side.  It is around 62 degrees. 
I figured they grow outside in the cold ground I would try it with out the heat source
and see how fast my seeds sprout.  All seeds were planted in plastic trays.  The ones the chocolate covered grahams come in. They were slipped into a gallon plastic bag to keep the humidity up.  they were planted in thoroughly moistened, soilless potting mix of perlite and ground peat moss.  I pressed a trough about 3/8 inch deep into the packed "soil" and lightly covered the seed(just barely).  Then I lightly pressed the covered seed.  I did not water it in because the medium was wet.

I planted approximately 25 seeds in each tray. 
(I used tweezers but sometime the color of the seed made it difficult to keep track of how many went in.)
Seed planted February 21, 2012
 Germination began on FEB 22.  I didn't count the seedlings because they were so tiny.  I did make a note of which boxes had no germination.  The chart has the variety, the seed company, the date purchased, and the seed color.   I will chart the seed up through their transplanting into the ground.  There will be notes following the chart typed in the color of the day. 

                                                                                                  FEB  22         25       29      Mar 1                                                                                                                                                       moving day
The green name, below the name, is the abbreviation used on the labels used in the trays on moving day.

1.  RED ROMAINE         Baker Creek  2012    white seed                           17        22             22
2.   MARSHALL COS      Henry field    2010    white seed               0           0          3            

3.  PARIS WHITE COS   Shumway      2012    white seed                            22        22            22
4.  BUTTERCRUNCH     Shumway      2012    brown seed                           23        24            23
5.  BURPEE BIBB           Burpee          2012    brown seed                           22        23            23
6.  PRIZEHEAD              Shumway       2012    white seed                            24        24            24
7.  FOUR SEASONS       Burpee           2012    black seed                            17        20            20
8.  ANNAPOLIS              Veseys           2010    brown seed            0              1          7

9.  VULCAN                    Veseys           2010    white seed              0              0          0 

10.  SANGRIA                Veseys           2010     brown seed            0             1          8

11.  REVOLUTION         T&M              2008    black seed      0              0          0

Feb 22:  The open (no count) is because they were so numerous and close together it was difficult to count.

Feb 25:  They are very tiny maybe 1/8 inch.  Today it is very cold after a fabulous 60 degree day on Thursday.  So far the way the weather is looking I am glad I am starting the seeds early.  It looks like if I can get a garden area dear proofed I can put some plants out.  (but this is St. Louis...wait 5 minutes and the weather changes).

Feb 29: Some of the older seeds did sprout.  The sprouts are on the deformed side and staying very tiny.  I don't have any seed from 2011.  The above tells me, lettuce seed older than 2 years is not to be counted on no matter how good the storage conditions are.

The picture on the left is the seedlings today.  I re-use domed pastry containers to put the trays in.  The trays are the plastic inserts which hold chocolate covered graham crackers.  I poke holes in the corners of each tray so they will drain and not be soggy. The domed carton keeps the surface damp for germination and provides growth room till they get their second leaves.  these I noticed are at that stage.  I will be transplanting them today if I have time after I transplant the cabbages and broccoli:

Picture on the left is a close-up of the closed container.  The right is the open container showing the little trays. 

We are always keeping our eye out for container to reuse as little green houses.  (The rotisserie chicken boxes are good for rooting woody herbs in.)

March 1:  Today I moved the seedlings.  They were just starting to show the bud of the second set of leaves.  I normally wait till the second set is well on it's way but the stalk of the plant was tending to legginess.  I used the smallest cell Styrofoam tray I had.  It was difficult to get the root mass in the holes.  Next time I plant lettuce seed I will direct plant these cells and cover the tray with plastic wrap.  I was using tweezers anyway to pick up the seed and put it into the cracker trays.  (The only advantage so far I have seen is that I could have put the trays in my propagation chamber which is warm.) We had fast germination at the 60 degree room temperature.

The buttercrunch had one seed that was recently sprouted and had almost no roots so I destroyed it rather than transplant it.  The other 5 varieties what growth there was was stunted I did not transplant them.  I will be feeding the birds the remaining seed. (This is another advantage to being organic.  You can give your old seeds to the birds).

When I moved the transplants to their new home I didn't have my list.  I made tags to label the rows.  I abbreviated their names for the tags.  For this tray I will use this system but I will still use their number in the above list for identification.

The pictures and writings on this and any of my blogs are my own.  If you would like to use them please contact me for permission.  (If I use something from a source not my own I will make note of it ). 

To see more of my blogs go to:
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  blogs about My Courtship in 1963 and My most embarrassing moment.

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Sewing, Quilting, Cooking, Poetry and prose and a little gardening
new blog February 16, 2012 "5 Panel Boxer Shorts: tutorial"

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