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Seedlings don’t wait around!

Gypsy sweet peppers

The weather’s been warm, sunny, essentially FANTASTIC for the last couple of days, and the forecast for the next few looks just as good. Indoors, many of the earliest seedling starts are putting on growth spurts, quite suddenly crowding each other and grabbing for the light, like these Gypsy sweet peppers. That means hundreds of seedlings have to be potted up, hardened off a bit, and headed out to the greenhouse, NOW—it’s not good to constrain their growth in small cells, and once they’re in bigger quarters, there isn’t room for them all under the lights. It’s no coincidence that, just as you’re driven to seed a dozen crops into the field RIGHT AWAY, the transplants are ALSO blowing up and demanding immediate attention—it’s the miracle of the garden plan working. They’ve been timed to be at this stage right about now. This is the way it goes. I’m so completely swamped with things to do, not just planting, but building and repairing things, working on the new farmers’ market stand, setting up the irrigation, and on and on. It can be quite overwhelming. Often, it doesn’t seem possible to get it all done in reasonable time. But you plug away—if you’ve done it before, you can do it again!—and eventually things ease up, and you get to survey your first crops setting up in the field—not to mention, EAT STUFF, like a perfectly crunchy spring radish…just brush off the dirt—and at that point, the deep feeling of satisfaction and simple happiness at having done it all is really, truly, have-to-experience-it excellent. MEANWHILE, that’s a good six weeks away, and until then, it’s the full-on SPRING RUSH! :)



  1. I just discovered your extensive blog on Blotanical and want to say hello and I know I will be back many times.  You have a lot here.  As to the seedlings: They surely don’t stay small long.  It must be wonderful to have a greenhouse to put them to harden off.  I get so tired of moving mine in and out of the garage.

  2. Wow, those look so good – I think I’d better get on and plant my seeds.  I’m really impressed with the results you’ve got with your growlights.

  3. I couldn’t have put it better myself… the rush to get a gazillion things all done at once, I mean. I hear you, I hear you, I hear you!  Best wishes! and keep those crunchy radishes in mind.

  4. Love this post!  It’s my first year starting seeds indoors.  It seems like they took off overnight.  My husband laughs at me as the pots spread throughout the house.  I just got the new veggie garden tilled.  I hope I can get the plants hardened off and outside without much injury (to them or me.)  I”m trying not to feel overwhelmed.

  5. Being a newbie and only have a couple dozen seedlings it’s very exciting to see a new set of leaves on the spinach and broccoli or see the feather leaves come out from the carrots.

  6. klaus

    I’m jealous.

    Here in Edmonton we just had 2 record breaking cold day time highs of around -10 celsius and a foot of snow to go with it. Last weekend we had +24, and i had taken the opportunity to transplant some hardy veggies outside. We’ll see if they survive…

    Out of curiosity, from and to what size are you potting your peppers up?  And how long do you leave them in the bigger pot before putting them in the field?

  7. Hi, great blog which I just discovered. Seems like you have alot of projects going on at once:) I know what you mean by having too little space and too much plants, though I experience it in a much smaller scale.=) Good luck with all the work, looks like an exciting job & hobby:)

  8. Your peppers are beautiful! I know what you mean about the craziness of April. We only have our own little family garden, yet there’s an endless to-do list. Its a good though, we like it.

  9. Melanie J.

    Man, those are pretty!

  10. Those are seriously healthy looking peppers, what date were they sown? I love your blog – great stuff and great photographs. Having come across Tiny Farm Blog recently it is now on my favourites list.

  11. Thanks for the compliments and good wishes! Yep, it’s busy, and fun!!

    klaus & laura: The sweet peppers went in around March 16 and the hot about a week later. No real reason for the different timing, just what I was up to. I’m trying to see how short I can go with the all transplant times, but with peppers and eggplant I give a lot of lead time, 8 weeks or so. They were started in 72-cell trays, and they’re being potted up to 3″ square peat pots. Again, the timing is a little loose, I don’t have an exacting schedule for when to do what, but it’s about 4 weeks in the plug sheet, and then 4 or so in the pots. All of this timing is still pretty experimental, I change things around a bit every year to see what works best. You can see how they do this time around later in the season!

  12. i make one big mistake every year. since i dont have much room on the windowsill, i put more than one seed per cell and soon i have to transplant both into bigger pots (and have nowhere to put them) or cut one smaller seedling off. how big shoud the plants be before transplanting them into greenhouse or outdoors?

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