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For lettuce, spring really starts in winter.

April 12, 2010

For people who grow their own lettuce, spring starts in winter; I have missed the boat yet again.

Today I had to throw out seedlings for the bok choi, tatsoi and one of the lettuces. I still have the two kinds of basil plugging along, and some leggy, leafy lettuces of another (sigh, unidentified) type. I just got everything started late, late, late!

Reading up–yet again–on starting seeds indoors, the good folks over at Purdue University inform me of this little tidbit:

Mixes that contain no soil are available for growing seeds. These contain either a combination of peat moss and vermiculite or peat moss and perlite. They may be purchased ready-made or can be mixed at home. These mixes as well as vermiculite used alone, have little fertility. Seedlings must be watered with a diluted fertilizer solution soon after they emerge… Those in totally artificial mixes without fertilizer need prompt and regular fertilization.

Awesome. So I’ve been trying to do this for YEARS now — in bright sunlight, in crappy kind-of-sunny windows, and now with my fancy-pants lights — and wondering why on earth the little seeds pop up like they’re doing great and then just…sit there.

Duh. They need food.

Seeing as how our last-frost date is virtually upon us, I’ve sadly given up on continuing with the cool-weather plants indoors. I realized last week that if growing my own lettuce etc. was to be successful, it needed to be started in JANUARY. So when I threw out the seedlings today they were already dead–wilted–because I resigned myself a few days ago to the fact that they were doomed anyway.

Tomorrow, I’m re-directing my focus: I’ll start the seeds for summer veggies (hot peppers, melons, some herbs.)

I broke down yesterday and bought transplants of bok choi and Chinese cabbage. Ugh, instant garden:


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