Tomatoes and Peppers
In February I started 20 coir pellet pots each of Yellow Brandywine and Sweet Chocolate peppers. I hadn't planned on growing tomatoes at all, but after receiving the tomato seeds in a seed swap I decided to give them a try. Both seeds germinated quickly and are doing well, especially the tomatoes. However, there have been a few bumps along the way.
This is what the tomatoes look like today. They're not growing on the window sill. This was just a good spot to take a photo.
The seed trays were way too far from the lights, resulting in leggy seedlings, so I raised them closer to the grow bulbs.
However, I raised them too close which turned the foliage yellow. After doing some research, I discovered the yellow foliage was also caused by water logged roots and a lack of nutrients. They had developed incredibly long root systems that were tangled in the capillary mat. I trimmed off the bottom 8-10 inches of stringy root.
The roots had grown through the little coir pots and into the water reservoir below the capillary mat. It was time to move them to a larger pot.
Instead of using nursery pots, I used cheap plastic cups and poked holes in the bottom with a hot screw driver tip. I love how shocked they look. This gives the seedlings the depth they need while also being narrow enough to fit onto the tray in my 'greenhouse'.
The cups also allow me to watch the root development and monitor how moist the soil is. When it's time to transplant them to larger pots, I'll just cut away the cups and recycle them. I planted the tomatoes as deep as possible to help them form stronger root systems and watered them with water enriched with liquid kelp.
Growing the peppers has been a bit trickier but only because I've never grown peppers indoors before.
They germinated quickly but the more they grew, the yellower they became. Some also developed weird purple spots on their leaves.
Worried my peppers had somehow contracted some kind of bizarre Purple Pepper disease, I tossed the seedlings with the most purple spots. A few seedlings didn't have any spots at all, which should have been my first clue. The peppers closest to the light turned purple from being overexposed to the grow bulb and had developed a phosphorus deficiency, which is indicated by purple blotches.
I repotted them into plastic cups and moved them a little bit farther away from the grow light. They are slowly turning greener.
With the exception of a few ambitious plants, the winter sowing is coming along slowly. However, I'm not dissuaded at all. This March was the coldest March in thirteen years, which has put all growth in the garden several weeks behind normal, whatever normal is any more. Quite a few of the containers have grown moss next to the seedlings.
What I Sowed
Malva 'Zebrina' SPROUTED
Heliopsis (seed collected from my garden) SPROUTED
Dalea (Purple Prairie Clover)
Lavender augustifolia SPROUTED
Sweet peas 'Painted Ladies and Old Spice' SPROUTED
Ammi 'Green Mist' SPROUTED
Orlaya 'White Lace' SPROUTED
Scarlet flax SPROUTED
Sweet scabiosus SPROUTED
Garlic chives SPROUTED
Tomatoes 'Principe Borghese'
Talinum (Pearls of Opar)
The dalea seeds were free but I'm not surprised they didn't sprout since they've never reseeded in my garden. Plus, I think it's too cold for the talinum and tomatoes. I haven't given up on them yet.