Seedling Overload

It’s been a busy couple weeks sowing, transplanting and hardening off seedlings. I’d nearly forgotten how much I enjoy this process! Maybe I enjoy it a little too much. It doesn’t seem likely that I’ll have space for 72 tomato plants unless I devote my entire garden to tomatoes. But if I do that, where will my two dozen cauliflowers go? And the dozens of peppers, artichokes and cabbages that are getting taller by the day?

Whose crazy idea was it to sow so many seeds??

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Okay, yes, that’s a rhetorical question. Obviously it was me. And although I know exactly how this happens I seem powerless to stop it. As recommended, I sow multiple seeds per space in case some don’t germinate. Once they reach a certain height I am supposed to thin the smaller ones leaving only the largest, healthiest sprout to grow. Sounds sensible,  but do you know what they mean by “thinning?” They mean CUTTING DOWN, snipping the poor little sprout after all its hard work and tossing it in the compost! Call me crazy but that doesn’t seem fair so I gently separate the seedlings and repot each one. There are no winners or losers in my garden, only participants.

A few of my heirloom Tomato Seedlings

This week I separated and repotted my tomatoes (which I started way too early!). Unfortunately nearly every stinking seed sprouted, which means I was not exaggerating when I say I have roughly 72 seedlings. I started eight heirloom varieties: Gold Medal, San Marzano, Zapotec, Japanese Black Trifele, Vorlon, A Grappoli d’Iverno, JD’s Special C-Tex, and Tigerella. I’m hoping these will provide a nice assortment of color, shape, size, flavor and use. I don’t plan to start any more… we’ll see what happens.

Cauliflower seedlings

Meanwhile, the cauliflowers are hardened off and outgrowing their baby pots. They need to go in their forever home sooner than later, I just need to figure out where that is. Is there such as thing as “cart-before-horse” disorder? Pretty sure I have that.

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I’m very pleased with how well my artichokes are growing, and I DO have a place to put them! Well, I will have a place because I got these cool galvanized stock tanks to keep them safe from gophers. Unfortunately, they have no soil in them. I guess we need to order a truckload of soil to be dumped in the driveway… as soon as we get the mulch pile out of the way.

Showy Milkweed seedlings

By next week the Showy Milkweed should be ready for planting. It’s kind of leggy and a bit pathetic-looking but I’m hoping it will toughen up once it gets in the ground. I’m considering snipping the top set of leaves and forcing growth out the sides but, as I may have mentioned, snipping a growing thing is not my strong suit.

Hairy Balls milkweed, aka Gomphocarpus physocarpus
Hairy Balls milkweed, aka Gomphocarpus physocarpus

Last but not least, my Hairy Balls are thriving! They are huge, and just keep getting bigger! Are these not the sturdiest pair of Hairy Balls you’ve ever seen? I think I even have enough Hairy Balls to share them with friends and neighbors. Yes, I plan to spread my Hairy Balls everywhere! Hairy balls hairy balls hairy balls. hah. In case you thought I was above potty humor, now you know.

And on that note, see ya next time!

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11 Comments Add yours

  1. Pat Sherwood says:

    I’m not a garner as I have brown thumbs! But if I were, I would probably jump in and start too soon, and like you, couldn’t bare to discard any! Loving following your gardening!

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    1. Pat Sherwood says:

      oops, the brown thumbs can’t type either. :/ Not a gardner!!

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  2. Kathy Sturr says:

    Ha ha hairy balls! Oh my I always feel so guilty for snipping seedling sprouts. I always apologize and say I’m so sorry (before I eat them) – I figure their energy won’t go to waste that way. I’ve tried growing artichokes for several years and even managed to cultivate one tiny flower bud before it flopped over and withered away. I think our climate is just not conducive. I gave up. Lacinato kale loves it here, however! I love love love all the seedlings. Is there a community garden near you? I donate to the community garden if I have too many.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Sheri Fox says:

      That’s a great idea, a community garden! I will look into that. Turns out I’ve rushed things a bit, tomatoes don’t go out til late April here. I’m going to have to figure out how to keep them healthy in my dining room for a good long time LOL. Artichokes… They are finicky. There are varieties that can grow where you are but there’s a reason 99% come from California. Kale is nice though 😉

      Liked by 1 person

  3. Melissa says:

    If you end up not having space for all your milkweeds, I’m happy to take one! I seeded a bunch but only one came up. I read later that they do best with stratification. But everyone else seems to have no problem, so who knows!

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    1. Sheri Fox says:

      I’d love to share! I grew extras so I could spread them around and encourage my neighbors to feed the monarchs. I have three types but unfortunately the one native (Showy) is doing the worst. I will have Hairy balls and Tropical to spare though, and maybe the Showy will kick in here as the weather warms. (HB and Showy did need stratification, btw).

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      1. Melissa says:

        None of the Showy came up, but my one Mexican whorled is hanging in there! There is a nursery in Fairfax that I’ve passed a few times that is only open seasonally, but there is an old sigh that says they have milkweed starts. I hope to check them out and see what type they have.

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        1. Sheri Fox says:

          For a native Showy sure is finicky! I saw some types at Harmony Farms last fall and Annie’s Annuals has a bunch. Maybe Mostly Natives in Tomales? Hallberg Butterfly Gardens in Graton has an annual sale too with host plants for several butterflies, I need to check the date for that. Have you been? It’s lovely.

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          1. Melissa says:

            I haven’t! I recently heard about them and want to take a tour. No idea they did a sale! I’m slowly planning a butterfly garden. I’m on the waiting list for a pipevine at CalFlora

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            1. Sheri Fox says:

              Pipevine is Hallberg’s specialty! I have one baby plant, hoping to get more. I read that the flowers are pretty stinky so I’m tying to decide where to put it where I won’t regret it.

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              1. Melissa says:

                interesting, I haven’t heard that. There is one blooming on campus right now, I’ll have to check it out. I was planning on planting it with a spice bush.

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