The stand is located against a south facing window in my home office. Having them close by means I'm much more attentive when it comes to watering and general maintenance/one-on-one pampering (unfortunately, I'm one of those 'out of sight, out of mind' kind of people).
I've been feeding these little beauties with a weak solution of liquid fish fertilizer with seaweed extract. I'm using the organic version so it's a bit smelly but it seems to be working wonders already.
The downside is my seedlings aren't the only living beings that like it.
Last year, I grow two dozen different varieties of heirloom tomatoes which was amazing and fun (and I'll get around to writing about it someday) but it was challenging because 1.) I had way too many fresh eating tomatoes and not enough for preserving and 2.) the summer was too mild and the plants went in too late so many of them didn't ripen on the vine before the first frost. We did harvest a whole bunch of them that we ripened in cardboard boxes between newsprint, but it became a logistical nightmare with all the different sizes and maturation rates.
This year I decided to grown only five different varieties from seed but have more plants (40 plus at last count, though I may only plant half that in the garden): Moneymaker, Miel du Mexique (an old French heirloom cherry), Yellow Pear, Amish Paste and Martino's Roma (a paste tomato). I may pick up a few fun transplants at the farmers' market, like Snow White (Ella's pick) or Black Krim (Jack's request), if I've got any leftover space. Of course, I can always pop some into pots near the house. And this is how I ended up with 25 different varieties last year.
I love red peppers but it can be tough growing them in a 5a garden, especially if we get a cool summer like last year. Still, I thought I'd try Jimmy Nardello's Sweet Italian Frying pepper, which matures in 80 to 90 days and is great for frying, drying, freezing, relishes and salads. I've got about nine or 10 plants to go out in the garden and the plan is to construct a mini hoophouse over them.
Ella helped me seed the zukes, cukes and melons.
Of course, seeding is hard work and it's best to take several breaks. Hopscotch anyone?
We're growing Mideast Prolific cucumbers (a highly productive and early variety producing 6" to 8" fruits good for eating and pickling), Ronde de Nice summer squash (an unusual French heirloom green zucchini that's completely round like a ball), Charantais melons (another French heirloom, this one that's reputedly one of the best-flavoured cantaloupes in the world) and Small Shining Light watermelon (an old Russian variety that's perfectly suited for northern summers, with 10" to 12" fruits that mature in 80 to 90 days).
I also decided to throw in a few yellow zucchini from last year's seed bank. This one is Golden Dawn III -- the only hybrid I'm growing.
Here's my first batch of Italian Large Leaf basil and I'll be putting more seeds in this weekend. I've also got oregano and thyme under the lights (oops, no photo) and I'll be direct seeding some dill and some medicinal herbs. I'll probably pick up a few transplants as well.
And here's some French Brocade marigolds that I'll use as an insect-deterring companion, along with nasturtiums, which I'll probably direct seed if I don't get some started this weekend.
And while I'll be direct seeding my beans in a few weeks, when I transplant all these seedlings into the garden, the kids wanted to plant a few now.