Update on the Vegetable Seed Starting

chilly greens

Hey, it’s cold out here, even in the cold frame.

Our extended winter-like weather and delayed spring has changed the timing for planting some things in the garden that I’ve started indoors. My trays of heirloom lettuces were not looking happy indoors under the lights, so I moved them outside into cold frames. However, we continue to see unusually cold nights with temps dipping down into the 20s, and I’m afraid it’s taken its toll on some varieties. They’ve suffered frost damage and I’ll have to replant some of them.

happy tomatoes

Meanwhile, the tomatoes and peppers are growing well.

Meanwhile, the eggplant, peppers and tomatoes I’m growing indoors under lights are a different story. I started them in peat pellets, planting two seeds in each pellet. If both seeds germinate—and they usually do—I wait until they develop a set of true leaves, and then split the pellet in two and transplant both seedlings into 3-inch pots. I’m using Pro-Mix as my transplant mix this year.

So far, everything indoors is looking healthy. Seed starting requires some flexibility given our weather. I just hope the plants stay healthy while they grow and they don’t get too leggy until I can plant them out in the garden. At this rate though, who knows how long that will be!

—Tom McKusick


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