Spinach!

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Ginger
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Spinach!

I watched Aerogrow's latest video on their garden starter kit. Nicely done. No major surprise that plants started indoors 3 weeks before should be bigger than those started from seed in the dirt in Spring... But a couple things leapt out at me:

  1. He grew spinach!  In the garden starter tray! Granted, the little spinaches started indoors weren't greatly bigger than the ones planted in the dirt, but a little bit of a head start. I've never gotten even a viable seedling out of spinach in the AG. Hmmmmm!
  2. He started radishes and beets and broccoli in the AG, too. Hadn't considered that - plants you cannot grow in the Aerogarden, can still be started in the Aerogarden... Transplanting radishes out at age 3 weeks was a surprise, tho. They're done in 4 weeks.
  3. It snowed after he planted. Ah, Colorado, how I miss thee... His garden weathered it fine, tho.
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Ginger
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Fungus problems - um...

Fungus problems - um... maybe. I buy 'em by the hundred or so, and they lie around the garage in a zipper bag that somehow never seems to stay sealed. So when I use them, I pre-soak in a warm bowl of maybe 10% hydrogen peroxide for 15 minutes, then rinse really well.

You're always supposed to soak them before using - I just added the peroxide part.

That said, it's not clear to me that the misfires in germination have been a fungus problem, or just that the things are too wet. Because they're too absorbent. What I know is - sometimes seeds rot. Especially lettuce seeds. This is only in the Aerogarden, using them as pod sponges. When I prop them up to keep them less wet, germination is improved.

FWIW, I've never seen a damping-off problem. Only seed rot & failure to germinate at all. Sometimes white fur. Only in the AG, not in the styrofoam block. I don't think I've had any similar problems using them in the Park Starts blocks. But because they smell musty by end of summer, I always peroxide 'em.

 

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Beth11
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Thanks!  Any fungus problems

Thanks!  Any fungus problems with the plugs?  That is my only concern....

Beth

 

 

 

 

Ginger
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Hi, Beth, Thanks! I feel

Hi, Beth,

Thanks! I feel reassured that I'm doing it right. Even in the water teepees, I don't think tomatoes should go out until mid-April - weeks later without. And a 2 month old tomato is way too big for seedling lights.

Cipollini onions sound very cool! Are they quicker than fat onions?

I don't have an AG seed starting tray. Part of why I don't, is that I don't see how it could do any better than my trusty old Park Starts blocks, at 54 slots for $8 new (cheaper if you want more than 54 slots). I fill 'em up and often just plonk them on an AG deck while starting lettuce, or between my minis. It's 18 slots per block, which works well for staggering what I start, since the plants all have different lead times and transplant times. The blocks are best for starting plugs that will go directly into the garden, or move to the Aerogarden. Using them to start seeds, and then transplant the long skinny sponge into 6-packs, is just tedious.

Plug dimensions 2.5" long, scant .75" diameter (as in, when wet, will fill 3/4".) Plug is very slightly tapered, with a definite taper at the very bottom. There are 3 grooves running down the sides of the plug that match little knobby bits on the styrofoam block. Pictures here (right pod is the Park Starts block size). They're not ideal for use in the Aerogarden - get too soggy, and don't really fit the cups. But they serve OK.

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Beth11
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Hi Gisette,   I always start

Hi Gisette,

  I always start my main tomatoes the last week of March.  Just because the last frost is mid April here doesn't mean it is warm! Nothing like watching all the seed raised, coddled toms turn purple! I end up planting the first week of May down here.   I have no clue about cabbages.  My seedlings (lettuce and cabbage) died last year.  I keep my greens covered with floating row cover.  We'll see what happens.

  I've decided to start the cabbages in seed starting mix.  I don't have replacement inserts for the seed starting tray (do the park bio sponges fit??).  I'm going to do onions in the ag.  Trying cipollini onions.  Onions from seed take forever. 

Beth 

 

 

 

 

Ginger
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Hi, Beth, I wandered over to

Hi, Beth,

I wandered over to Farmer's Almanac to look at their forecasts for spring... Do these suggested planting dates seem awfully early to you? Especially the idea that there's 'only' a 50% chance of frost here after April 16 - so start your tomatoes indoors on Feb 15? I've started my early tomato and pepper - the ones I intend to have fruit about to ripen when set them outdoors in containers. But I pencilled in the regular transplants for mid-to-late March starts, I think.... And I'd never have put a summer-type cuke in the ground in April. They just sit there looking whiny and accomplishing nothing until heat arrives. Or die...

So I'm wondering whether to put any credence in the dates they recco for the spring plants like cabbage & peas & spinach.

I plant outside way earlier than most people around here. But, like, mid April, and only the tougher plants, or in protection. The local rule of thumb is 'safe after Mother's Day' around May 10. Last year that was late - spring was stunning. But normal spring here is cool clammy overcast, with the rare fine day or frost, until summer suddenly hits like a hammer in June.

 

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Ginger
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Do cabbages work better in

Do cabbages work better in spring? Or do you not have the aphid problems I do? Seems like there are fewer aphids in spring... It might yet be possible for me to grow a decent cabbage.

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Beth11
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Hi Gisette,   Cool video! 

Hi Gisette,

  Cool video!  That convinced me to start my cabbages in the starter tray!  I need to think about what else.....