Saturday, May 14, 2011


The greatest pleasure I get from growing my own vegetables is to start them from seeds then wait for them to germinate. It’s not that I haven’t a high level of envy when I see 1 gallon plants at the nursery, already well established and rooted, certainly moving fruit harvest up by weeks. It’s just that I have an innate childish excitement when I go out to the garden every morning to see if any seeds have broken through the soil overnight. It’s like Christmas every day. Then I’m checking off-and-on all day long to see if there’s a bulge in the soil surface or a spot of green stem showing through a crack in the soil.

All my seeds were sown from April 27th to May 1st. I made a list of germination times for each and then waited to see if the seeds came up in the normal germination window, the average being within 6-14 days. Most of the seeds have come up on time, but there are signs (or really no sign at all) that the Pumpkin ‘Baby Bear’ from 2006 and the Zucchini ‘Revenue’ and ‘Round Bush’ from 2005 are not going to come up. The seeds were old but I had hoped for some viability yet. I’ll wait till the end of next week, then toss them if the seeds don’t come up.

The Peppers ‘Hungarian Yellow’, ‘Large Red Cayenne’ and ‘Sweet Banana’ have also not come up but their window of germination is one of the longest—8 to 25 days. So I can be waiting until about May 22nd before they emerge. But I’ve grown peppers before and know this is normal. It just means a late season harvest.

The tomatoes have also been slow to germinate because it’s just been too cold at night, and daytime temperatures have been fluctuating as well. Once we get more days in the 70-75 degree range, and nights above 55 degrees, they should take off. It’s this temperature variance that can cause tomato seeds to take their time germinating or just rot in the soil all together because of the cold. I’ve planted tomato seeds as early as late-February to mid-March and have had 5” plants by the end of April. This has just been a colder than normal Spring and the tomato seeds show the effects.


  1. My fingers are crossed for the Cherokee Purple - it's my favorite tomato! But considering we're being assaulted by another set of fronts, which rather than a day and a half are now predicted to be running from Sunday through Wednesday, means all the plants are threatened - again. Can't work on the beds, either!

  2. I realize I'm commenting on an almost 2-year-old post, but I had to tell you that in your first paragraph here you so perfectly summed up how I feel about growing plants from seed. After I've planted seeds, I think I check my garden about ten times a day, just to see if anything new is happening, and then rush in to tell my husband, "I have two radishes coming up!" It really is like Christmas every day.

  3. Thank you for your comment, Leanne. By now those radishes must be up with the first set of leaves growing. Now for another exciting adventure: watching the radish form and show it's first flush of red. Enjoy!