Greenhouse updates

It was a busy week away from the garden, and now I’m paying for it. My to-do list is growing exponentially while my done list hasn’t changed. This happens to me every spring. In my defense, the insanely hot weather limits the time I’m willing to work inside the greenhouse. It’s just too hot in there for delicate work, and sowing tiny seeds in tiny pots constitutes delicate work in my book.

Theoretically, tomorrow morning will be cooler. I hope so, because I need to transplant the mesclun mix seedlings into their permanent beds in the garden. Thanks to a little watering with dilute fish emulsion/seaweed mix, they are raring to go. See for yourself:

Of course, the tiny seedlings in the top left corner are not ready for prime time yet. They are petunia seedlings. I’ve never grown petunias from seeds before. In fact, until last year, I’d never grown any petunias at all. They seemed rather uninteresting to me.

But last year, I bought a hanging pot of some electric purple petunias that looked fabulous all summer despite the searing afternoon sun that hammered them daily. The hummingbirds loved them too, so I decided to try my hand at growing them from seed. Thank goodness I started them early, because it will be a while before they’re ready for their hanging pot.

I started my chive seeds early too, because they are notoriously slow to germinate, and often germinate unevenly. Not this time. This time germination was nearly 100%, I like the way the long seedling leaves hold on to their now-empty seed hulls — like little sporty caps:

Chive seedlings

It’s not a great picture, but if you click on it to enlarge it, you can see the little black seed caps I’m talking about. This picture is 4 days old, and in that time, many of the chive seedlings have begun pushing out second leaves. It will still be a while before they’re ready for the garden, but I’m happy with their progress.

I also had room to plant two tomato varieties, so I started with the two that take the most number of days to produce fruit: Purple Russian and Ferline. The heirloom Purple Russian germinated first — 100%. Ferline was a few days slower, and also gave me 100% germination. Peppers always take longer to show up to the party. Finally today, all my Carmen seedlings are poking up. The Apple seeds — as of this morning — had not yet appeared. They may well have by now. The heat is really cranking up productivity in all the plants, regardless of their size.

I’ve also got Fernleaf Dill seedlings just up as well. The package says it’s best to direct-sow these in the garden, but I have better success and control using the greenhouse method. Tomorrow morning after I transplant the eager seedlings pictured above, I’ll be sowing as many more of the tomatoes as will fit in the germination chamber.

If room permits, I’ll squeeze in some basil seeds too. I like them to get to a good size before I plant them out. And I’ve promised some basil plants to several friends, so I need to plant extras. Frankly, I’ve found that there’s no such thing as too much basil in a garden.

In the vegetable garden itself, my only success is the peas, which are well up now. However, the heat and drought are starting to take a toll on their enthusiasm. There’s not much I can do about the heat, but I can continue to water — at least until the well goes dry.

I’m trying not to worry about that while spring is making all the plants and animals in my yard bright and busy.  One day at a time. One to-do at a time. And constant, fervent prayers for precipitation.

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