March 21, 2009: Seedling Saturday

The lights and two heating pads keep the mini-greenhouse at around 75F during the day, and it drops to 60 degrees or so at night with the lights off and the two heating pads turned on low. A few of the seedlings have had some white hairy looking mold form on them and the soil around them, but I spray them with chamomile tea and that seems to take care of it. Last night I took all the trays out and gave them a good watering. This morning I went out to turn on the lights and there was white hairy mold everywhere! I assumed the interior was retaining too much heat and moisture, and I needed to provide some ventilation. As a temporary measure, I propped the top part of the front plastic flap partially open with a couple of rolls of paper towels. Later I removed the towels and taped off an area on each side, at the top, and cut a couple of 2" vents. I'm hoping that will provide a bit of air circulation without letting in too much cold air. I also removed one of the heating pads and turned off the other one. I'll just turn it back on at night when the lights are off.

So here are the seedlings so far:

These are what are left of the Arizona seedlings. Believe it or not, all of them were planted at the same time, but the tiniest tomato was quite frostbitten during the trip, the middle one was just slightly nipped, and the large one escaped damage. I suppose the same thing is what stunted some of the peppers. They look healthy enough, but one is just way ahead of the others, and the tiniest is a real runt. To give you a better idea of size, the larger tomato is planted in a 12" pot, and the other plants are in 16 ounce cups.

The larger Tumbling Tom tomato is beginning to get some blossoms.

These are the mesclun seedlings, which were started March 14th.

Seventeen of the 18 mesclun seeds germinated in their egg carton bottom.

The Arizona plants and mesclun live in the laundry room window, along with two pots of green onions (store bought), 39 marigold seedlings (9 have sprouted so far), and 12 Yugoslavian Red Lettuce, 8 Compatto Dill and 20 basil that were planted in mini-soil blocks just this morning.

Plants in the Garage Mini-greenhouse

Brassicas in soil blocks. Eight of nine sprouted, but one has succumbed to damping off. They sure look leggy, but they are nearly touching the light.

A mixed flat of tomatoes, cabbage, broccoli, cauliflower, parsley and Chinese parsley.

Four varieties of lettuce, dill and basil.

Thirty-six pepper plants, 5 varieties.

Another 36 tomatoes. Notice the white hairy mold.

At nine days from planting, some are already developing their true leaves.

This is where they live, seen here with the lights raised.

And here is how they live with the lights lowered.

Today in the Garden:

Rain, glorious rain! Just in time, as I finished planting the early spring garden yesterday. Well, almost...I'm thinking a rhubarb plant would be a nice addition.

Happy gardening!


  1. Wow everything looks great! I would get a little of that white hairy mold in my greenhouse. I would just pull off the dome on the seed starter tray and let the pots dry a little. It didn't seem to hurt anything.


  2. Liisa, believe me...there was a LOT of hairy mold this morning! It freaked me out when I saw it, but it is almost entirely gone now. I feel a bit better about it when I hear it happens to others.

  3. Blooms already on the tomato, that is great. You might be picking tomatoes on the first of May. Your Brassica's look just like mine, they are rather leggy things. I even started some in the cold frame and they look the same even though they get loads of light from the sun. My mold looks just like yours, I have had it in previous years growing tomatoes as well. I don't think it will harm the plants.

  4. Dan, tomatoes in May would just make my year! That is a Tumbling Tom, small enough to just stay in that pot. I'm going to try planting the other one upside down in a bucket to hang from a rail in the "dog kennel garden".

  5. I don't know what it is, but I just love to see close-ups of tomato plants. Yours looks extra nice with the little soon-to-be tomatoes on them.

    I had a little mold too. I tried to start a few peas inside. At first I noticed a little mold, and when I looked closer I saw it was the peas that had turned to mush. I hope I'll have better luck with the ones I planted outside.

  6. Looking good, Granny! Your soil blocks look kinda like brownies. Ha! I've had all kinds of mold in the chamber, but none that looked like that. Heat/ventilation will take care of it, though.


  7. It looks like your seedlings are doing great. My brassicas came up recently too and some are very leggy and some not so much. I'm thinking of changing how I order them once again and maybe bring them outside most days. It is a pain to move them in and out, but maybe it will work. I used to have a system for this, but it has been so long since I grew a lot of seedlings, I've forgotten it all.

  8. Cheryl, I was hooraying over the rain yesterday, but now I want it to stop. The peas have had enough.....thank you Mother Nature. We want them to sprout, not spoil.

    EG, it doesn't surprise me that your mold looks different from mine. You southerners are different....and you talk real funny. :-) Poopyhead. (Now, don't the rest of you southerners get your knickers in a knot...the comment only pertains to one particular southerner).

    Daphne, I need a little cart on rollers, I could just roll them out the door and give them a good airing out and some real daylight. I might just put those brassicas out and let them get a bit of light rain today. Thanks for the idea! It would be good for all the cool weather seedlings.

  9. Looks great! I'm getting a little mold too, but the seedlings look okay. I love your laundry room window! And I have yet to plant my spring garden. But, I bought more seeds at Winco yesterday. :)

  10. Connie, I was at Winco yesterday, too. Maybe we bumped into each other! Even Mr. H likes shopping there...he actually said so as he was pushing the cart down the aisle, and it was nice having him there to bag the groceries.

    I wish my plant window didn't have a northern exposure. The plants could use more sunshine, but they are surviving quite well.

    I still have Honey Bear squash on my seed list, along with a rhubarb plant.

  11. Wow! Your plants look amazing! I don't know about you, but I can't wait till the weather improves so I can get my seedlings outside!

    Guess what??? You won my little giveaway! That's right, you get a care package of Lavender Honey Bunches! Send me an email with your name and mailing address and I'll get them off to you as soon as I can. :) aria19 (at) hotmail (DOT) com Congratulations!

  12. What a great blog! Your picture documentation is so helpful. I'm new to gardening (just bought our first place this past summer) and I can see that you are master gardener!

    Your peppers are looking great. I tried starting some pepper seeds this year; I planted them last Monday. There is no sign of germination. When should I start to worry about them dampening off, and start over?

  13. Mommyamy...Really? I won? I never win anything! You bet I'll get my address right off to you...thank you!

  14. Paul, welcome to the wonderful world of gardening, and welcome to my blog! I wouldn't say I'm a master gardener, but I'm an old gardener who has been doing it for nearly 50 years. This is the first year I've started my own tomatoes and peppers though.

    Don't give up on the peppers. I actually had some planted for nearly a month, then gave up on them and dumped the seed starting mix back into the bag. A week later, when I got some mix from the bag, there were two little pepper seedlings! So I wouldn't even begin to worry yet...some peppers can take up to 21 days to germinate! Most of mine were showing after 6-8 days, but my Purple beauty peppers have yet to show at all and they were planted March 13th...

    May I suggest you visit where you can get some great advise on gardening? and feel free to come back here and ask any questions you may have.

  15. I'm so happy I found your blog (through Mommy Amy)!! I'm starting a veggie garden with my kiddos for the first time and it's stressing me out!!! I thought gardening was supposed to be relaxing???

    Anyway, I'm relieved to see that many of my seedlings look like yours (broccoli, spinach, tomatoes) so I must be doing something right!! Some of my seedlings are starting to look a little leggy and I'm not sure why. I'm not sure if they're getting enough sunlight (I started them indoors and I'll transplant them in a couple more weeks). I just transplanted several of them to bigger cups and those are starting to look better.

    I wish I had found your blog a couple weeks ago when I started all this. Seeing your pics was so helpful...seriously, it made me feel relieved to see that some of my sprouts look like yours and obviously you know what you're doing (compared to me...I think I'd still be confused after reading Gardening for Dummies).

  16. Helen, I'm not going to answer you here. I began to address your concerns, but it got so long I'm going to blog it instead.

  17. Thank you so much for your response! I loved your story about your Johnny-come-lately pepper seeds. I can happily say that 6 of my 9 pepper seeds have shown forth.

    Also, many thanks for sending me to that forum. Look forward to hearing more about your gardening adventure this year.

  18. Wonderful news on the peppers, Paul! I have just one variety that is really slow, and I was feeling just like you...almost ready to give up on them. My Purple Beauty peppers were still a no-show after all the others were just about ready to put forth true leaves. Then, just two days ago, the first one popped out. Last night there were two more. Sometimes it's hard to be patient, but sometimes that patience pays off.