Thursday, April 10, 2008

Seedling Progress

I'm starting to see more progress in my veggie seedling project. Since we've had a sad lack of sunshine lately, I've been turning up the thermostat a few degrees each evening and placing my seed tray over one of the heat register vents in an effort to warm up the soil. Some of the gardening magazines I've read suggest putting your seedlings atop a heating pad, but that would mean I'd actually have to dig through a closet to find my heating pad. Anyway, just a few evenings over the heat register have yielded some surprising results. Since my last report, not only do I have almost all of my broccoli sprouted, but I now also have the squash, zucchini, and two varieties of tomatoes making their appearance. The tomatoes are those little "strings" of white that you can just barely make out in the center of the seedling tray. Squash is the first row on the far left and zucchini is in the second row from the right (next to broccoli).

I'm still waiting on the peppers, cucumbers and one variety of tomatoes, but I haven't given up hope yet and, if the weather forecasters are correct, we're going to have a reappearance of the sun by Sunday.

Some of my sprouts were large enough for transplanting (broccoli & zucchini).

I sent a note out to some folks at work asking them to save their milk cartons for me. This has worked out pretty good, but I think I may have to leave another collection box near the milk vending machine location as I've only collected about 10 cartons so far and I see that I'm going to need many more if all of my seedlings sprout.


Even though it's a crappy, windy, rainy evening (and more snow/rain mix predicted for tomorrow), I was happy to see another sign of spring show up just a few minutes ago.

Chipping Sparrow - first one seen in my backyard for 2008!

18 comments:

Anonymous said...

You've got a chipping sparrow already, such a pretty little one I hope it doesn't freeze or get blown away.
Your garden is growing so fast.
Mom

Anonymous said...

If you need mlk cartons I can provide all your little heart desires from all the kids at school who drink milk. I would be happy to have the rinsed out and put in a box and you could pick them up. Let me know.
Dad

Mary said...

Yay! I love those little Chipping Sparrows. They haven't been here yet. We still have white-throateds and juncoes!

The weather is IFFY all around - warm today but the chill will come back over the weekend...

Stay on top of those seedlings, Ruthie. You are ahead of the game and soon there will be sunshine and warmth every day! Get the gardening gloves unpacked and ready.

Mary

Ruth said...

You are such an industrious person!!! Do you sleep? I have never identified a chipping sparrow before. I am so bad with lbj's, but think I have the song and tree sparrows down now.

Meggie said...

You've been such a busy gal...good for you! I fired up the tractor today...with the help of the battery charger...hoping to get it serviced soon...a definite sign of spring.

Jayne said...

Farmer Ruthie! I am impressed! Yay, a Chipping Sparrow for you!

RuthieJ said...

Hi Mom,
I was surprised by this Chipper. I'll have to check my journal to see if they're on schedule.

Hi Dad,
THANKS! That would be great if you could have the school kids save their milk cartons. If everything sprouts, I'll probably need close to 100 and it doesn't look like my co-workers drink that much milk. I will make some cookies for your school kids.

Hi Mary,
I still have bunches of juncos too, but haven't seen any other sparrow varieties yet....probably next week when the weather straightens out again.

Hi Ruth,
Outside of house sparrows, the chipping sparrows are probably the most numerous in my yard and they frequently nest in many of the evergreen trees I've got growing all over. They're fun little birds, and prefer an open tray featuring millet as their feeding spot of choice.

Hi Meggie,
I think this is the first year in a long time that I won't have to start lawn mowing until May....my tractor is still under its covers in the back of the garage!

Hi Jayne,
Kitty was pretty interested in those sprouts during transplantation. It will be a challenge keeping her away from them!

April said...

I enjoyed your post - very impressive seedling project. I like the heating pad idea. I used to do all that, too, but now I just buy the plants from a local greenhouse. Except I do have some geraniums from cuttings that I took in the fall and am coaxing along. I see your weather is not any better than ours - it's snowing here at the moment (Fri.), but we've been promised some warmer weather in the next few days. :)

Marsha said...

I saw my first chipping sparrow in the garden today. I can't wait to see all of your gardening endeavors this year. It is looking like you will have a very healthy diet this summer :-)

Lisa at Greenbow said...

I feel so out of the loop since I haven't started any seeds indoors. However we have had Chippies in the garden for a couple of weeks.

Robin (Bumblebee) said...

Good for you on those seedlings! I have to admit that I have purchased my tomatoes from a CA nursery this year. Hard-to-find heirloom tomatoes though. I hope their beds are ready in time. I seem to have bitten off more than I can chew, from what I can tell right now.

Robin at Bumblebee

P.S.
Maybe we should do a birders get-away like the garden bloggers' Spring Fling? It would have to welcome novices though.

Mel said...

Wow! Great work Ruthie!
I'm sure everything will turn out just perfect!

KGMom said...

Sprouts--nothing says spring like that.
So, I hope you show us pics of the plants' progress as they grow.

RuthieJ said...

Hi April,
I'm having fun with this seedling project....the first time I've ever tried it. We've had snow flurries all day but our weather forecast says we should see the sun tomorrow and temps in the 60's next week! Hooray!

Hi Marsha,
Good news on the chipping sparrow!
I hope my sprouts keep on growing. I'm looking forward to getting out in the garden once the weather warms up and dries up!

Hi Lisa,
With your longer growing season, you don't have to start many seeds indoors, do you? Even Chipping Sparrows know it's nice there by arriving early in the spring!

Hi Robin,
Welcome back!
I might have to buy some tomatoes also....the Cherry Roma seeds I planted have not done anything yet :-(

Thanks Mel....Now I'll just have to keep Kitty from eating the green sprouts while they're growing here in the house and make sure the bunnies don't get into the garden once I get everything planted.

Hi Donna,
For sure I'll keep everyone posted on my garden progress. If everything grows, it looks like I'm going to have a very busy summer!

Hedgewitch said...

Hurray!! SOmeone else is using milk cartons .. well done, ruthie!

I've been using goats milk cartons and I find the square shape really handy..

.. and I was doing some potting up yesterday and discovered that you can use any long bits you cut off as plant markers, because the outside is water proof .. I just wrote on it with permanent marker!!

great to see your seedlings, let us know how they get on?

Carolyn H said...

I started my seeds in egg cartons this year. The radishes are doing well. The tomatoes look about like yours. I need a little more sun!

Carolyn H.

mon@rch said...

Love your chipping sparrow shot and great seeing the seedlings being planted!

RuthieJ said...

Hi Hedgewitch,
Well thanks, but I actually got the milk carton idea from your blog! They work out well and fit together nicely in a tray. I got lots of new sprouts in the seedling tray and have to re-stock my milk carton supply very soon.

Hi Carolyn,
These little seedling pots work pretty good and after transplanting I can just put the seedling pot in the composter too. The sun has finally returned and my little tomatoes are loving it!

Hi Mon@rch,
I was sure happy to see that chipping sparrow too....hopefully more spring sparrows will be showing up soon.