First Transplants, 2013

The weather finally got to the mid-50’s March 15. I used the opportunity to transplant the seedlings that had been planted February 25. Germination and die-back was a bit random. The leeks never germinated. The others germinated well. But only one beet block with one plant and one block of chard that had about 8-10 seedlings survived. All these were in the tray that I had over the new germination heating pad. Those plants had germinated very quickly except for the leeks. I had kept the pad on hoping the leeks would germinate as well, but I wonder if ultimately that hurt my overall germination rate. I started two new trays of lettuce, spinach, and leeks on the 10th. This time I put each tray on heat for 24 hours then took them off. We’ll see how that compares. The spinach had most blocks germinate, but I had some odd die-back that I’m not sure the cause of. The lettuce did not have the same die back.

Seedlings ready for transplant

Seedlings ready for transplant

The seedlings were between 1-2″ tall for the most part and had well established true leaves. I hadn’t thinned the plants yet. For the lettuce and kale I took them back to the two best plants; for the others I left them at the best 6 or so. After I’m sure what blocks take (if any given the upcoming cold spell), I’ll thin lettuce and kale to one plant, the others to 4 plants per block. All total I planted about 30 blocks of lettuce (9 different varieties), 10 of spinach (3 different varieties), six blocks of turnips, eight blocks of toscano kale, four blocks of winterbor kale, one block of chard, one of beets.

UPDATE 3/19/13: This has turned out to be a rather cold start to March, contradicting predictions of a relatively warm March. Even with the hoop houses the transplants didn’t stand a chance. I waited until the temperature crossed 40 degrees to take a look, only to see all had wilted back from the cold.


About mwolske

I'm a Senior Research Scientist in Community Informatics at the Graduate School of Library and Information Science, University of Illinois.
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