Sunday, February 7, 2010

Little Peat Pots

As is probably obvious by now, I haven't grown a lot of things from seed in my life.   I did have quite a cute herb garden hanging in from the windowsill of one of my kitchen windows in NYC, but thats about the extent of it.

This year, in my gardening RIGHT NOW wishing fervor, I decided to start some seeds in the small upstairs room which is blindingly bright with its south and west exposures.    I chose a lot of seeds which are late spring bloomers in most of the country, primarily because those can be tough here, so I hear, and need to get out as early as possible.   The >80 degrees heat and humidity hit around May, and the sun at that point can melt lead.  Okay, so maybe it can't, but plants don't like it. There was a 90 degree day here this past October after I moved in, and my Wandering Jew looked almost as bad as when I accidently froze it to death this January.  Oops.  I forgot him. Now he's very dead.  I feel bad about it.

This seed extravaganza took place about 2 weeks ago, as the first plant date is the 2nd week of March around here (little jig of joy for living in the South), and I wanted these little plants ready to leave the nest by then.

I read the directions.  I did what I was supposed to.  Some seeds needed light, they got light. Some seeds needed dark, they got cardboard covers.

So here's the result after about 17 days.   Look hard... What is wrong in this picture?

Well, actually there are two things wrong.   First, the 4 o'clock seeds aren't coming up.   These are home grown from my Mom's garden so I'm suspecting its not the seeds, its me.  They just keep sitting there, looking like little grenades half buried in the soil.

But the big wrong thing?  You see how every other plant in the tray is between .5 inches and 2 inches tall, like one would expect after 2 weeks?  Now you see those Nastursiums that are 6 inches tall?  What the heck?  They would have many more leaves too if my cat would stop eating them.   4-6 weeks my (behind!)*  What am I going to do with these things?  They can't go out now!

*(paraphrased for public audiences)


  1. LOL. Don't panic. Plants take their own good time about germinating, and are affected by warmth, light, etc. Pinch the nasturtiums back at their growing tip, and they'll branch out more and get fuller rather than taller right away. Take some tweezers and thin out the seedlings that are too crowded, or else they'll be likely to succumb to damping off disease or become tall and straggly. I'm not sure about the four oclocks--I grew them here once years ago but we aren't sunny and hot enough in the summers to suit their purposes.
    You're doing fine. Don't panic. It's all good.

  2. If your nasturtiums start getting away from you, you could just repot them to a 4" pot for now, and move them out once the weather is more hospitable. They are notoriously fast growing...I'm waiting to start mine, at least for a couple more weeks. Can't help on the four o'clocks, I've never grown them. Oh, and overall I'd say there's nothing wrong...looks like everything else sprouted...that's a good thing!

  3. Hi Jess, i found you through blotanical. Welcome! I think I would pot up those nasturtiums and put them in a sunny window till spring arrives. I would thin the others and give the 4 o'clocks more time. I enjoyed reading you post. i look forward to seeing how your garden grows!

  4. hi! thanks ladies. I definitely will get on that thinning, those plants had dust like seeds, and yeah I guess I'm going to have to repot the nasturtiums... I think maybe I'll wait just a bit longer (but lord knows what they will look like a week from now at this rate).

    I am going to be upset if I can't get these 4 o'clocks to grow. They are one of my favorites and have no business not growing here.

  5. Lovely blog, and some great advice on the seed growing in your comments. Can you cool the room down a little? It might help the sprouted seeds to slow down.

    Good luck, I look forward to seeing them bloom this summer.

    Jen ~ Muddy Boot Dreams

  6. LOL about the cat. Only because I can hear him in my head saying, 'A good cat'll do that'. :P

    I am sorry you're having a frustrating go of starting your seedlings. That's why I don't bother with them at this early juncture of my gardening career lol.

  7. Muddy Boots: Thanks! I hope they make it. It occurs to me that these poor seedlings have a long row to hoe, so to speak!

    Kyna: my cat is a demon, you want her? :)

  8. Heh. That looks pretty normal for nasturtiums. If you run out of pot sizes before they need to go out and they don't end up making it, they're pretty easy to also direct seed in the ground.

    I'm far, far too lazy to plant seedlings, and nasturtiums are one of the few plants that I do plant from seed, along with beans and peas and other Plants With Giant Seeds That Burst From The Ground.

  9. Er... far too lazy to _raise_ seedlings, I meant.

  10. Beautiful blog layout! And I envy you gardening in Charleston. I visited there on a photography workshop last April, so be sure to explore Magnolia Plantation and Battery Park during its spring festivals of homes and gardens. Be patient with the seed work. Although I don't raise plants from seed any more, I did find it really gratifying when it worked. The lights setup is key. Good luck and welcome to the gardening world, and Blotanical!

  11. Melissa - I wasn't able to access your profile, but thanks for the stop by! The blog layout I can't take credit for: is the girl! This area is lovely. Even if I kill all my plants I can sneak around my neighbors houses and lie like a carpet about where these beautiful shots came from :) hehe

    Chicken - I've added your blog to my blogroll, your interests skipping all over the place sounds like a gal after my own heart. So glad you found me so I could find you!

  12. Hi there--saw you linked on Noel's blog. Nice setup you have here! I can relate to so much--finally having SPACE and a home to make a garden is the most wonderful feeling, as is going hog wild with it. I think your Four o'Clocks just need a little more time, and as someone said, maybe a bit cooler spot? I direct sow Nasturtiums (& most everything for lack of indoor space), and they take off readily. All is not lost! Lucky you for an early spring. ~Lynn