Germination

Eggplant Seedlings

Hi!  I don’t suppose you’d like to hear about the relative germination percentages between tomatoes and eggplant, would you?

The seed starter was getting crowded, so last weekend we finally got around to taking out the plants and moving them into their next generation containers.  These are repurposed yogurt containers: not fancy, but they do the job.

The seed starter has seven rows with room for seven plants per row.  We gave one row to cherry tomatoes (Sweet Million), three rows to Roma tomatoes, and three to ichiban eggplant (Millionaire Hybrid variety).  Well…  That was the plan, at least.  It’s possible that we planted two rows of cherry tomatoes and two of Roma, and if so we’re going to have too many cherry tomato plants.  We’ll know later on…

Why so many eggplant?  Because we expected what happened: while 100% of the tomato seed germinated, only about two out of seven eggplant seeds germinated.  We’ve resealed the seed starter and are giving the slowpokes a chance to germination.  Meanwhile, Jim is eating more yogurt because we’ve run out of containers.

So, we do have at least fifteen eggplant seedlings, but we can’t count on all the plants surviving.  This is the thing about gardening.  Not every plant survives.  It’s completely possible that by the time we move the seedlings into the ground in May, we might have half of what we started with.  The same could be true of the tomato plants.

Why did we start our own seeds?  For the eggplant in particular, we were looking for a particular variety.  For the tomatoes, variety is one issue, but another is that we’ve had some problems with finding what we want from greenhouses, especially now that a few franchises seem to have taken over supplying just about everywhere.  These franchises aren’t sensitive to what will do well in our particular climate.  Then there’s the problem that we’re seeing more evidence of disease in these plants than when we were able to shop for locally grown plants.

Aside: We grow a lot of other plants from seed, but those seeds (radishes, carrots, beans, squash, various herbs, numerous flowers) will go directly into the ground, rather than being started in advance.

Also, growing plants from seed is fun.  It’s fascinating.  It’s rather – if you’ve stayed with me this long – like writing.  Not every idea germinates.  Some seem promising, but wilt after the first few lines.  Others are crippled by complications along the way.  But those that work out are very satisfying, indeed.

Last week’s writing was definitely a difficult one for idea germination, but once I gave up on a couple of approaches and found my way, I was very satisfied.  Now, I’m off to see if I can pick up where I left off.

Remind me and, in May, I’ll tell you how many plants survived to being moved outside – and then, later still, I’ll let you know how many took and bore fruit when faced with the myriad challenges of a New Mexico summer.

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11 Responses to “Germination”

  1. John C Says:

    We’re expanding our little raised bed garden this year, but haven’t made much progress beyond getting the beds ready. I suppose we were lucky in that, because we had some surprise snow yesterday.

    I’ve never been the gardener in the family, but a fascination with it has been growing in me, so I’m excited to get my first real lesson in gardening since, as a toddler, I had some “pet corn” in a corner of my mother’s garden.

    I’ve been told about early and late plantings, and I’m looking forward to seeing what grows for us, and when, assuming we get ourselves together in time.

    Have you always gardened? I remember your back yard in Va as being overflowing with life and color, but I was young then, and too focused on what was going on inside books to pay enough attention to the outside world.

    • janelindskold Says:

      Like you, I didn’t take to gardening until I had a house, but I did have plants, even when I lived in the Bronx. That garden you remember in VA was my first effort at growing veggies.

      You’re in NC? You might enjoy “following” Ursula Vernon’s Twitter (or her blog, if she has one, I haven’t looked). She’s a joyful gardener and lives in your general area. You might pick up some tips!

      Snow? How much? We get snow as late as May, so we’re very careful with more tender plants.

  2. Harried Harry Says:

    Gardening is supposed to aid a person develop patience. My neighbor has the patience but I don’t nor does my wife. I may try planting vegetables this year as well as the flowers I like to grow. Currently, I’m trying to fix my Jeep since it needs some critical repairs. My challenge is to put the books down and go do the work. As I get older, I am finding it much harder to get down on the ground or under a vehicle to work. When younger, I had lots of strength but now, not so much.

    I enjoyed your discussion of gardening. Makes me realize we also need to garden our bodies as well as our minds.

    • janelindskold Says:

      Patience? I guess. Fatalism is probably closer to accurate.

      If you tell me which veggies and the amount of sun you have, I’ll give you an idea what might work. Or you could ask your neighbor,which might work better…

      • Harried Harry Says:

        Since I have lots of sun (north of Las Cruces) and we eat tomatoes, potatoes, and some green beans, anything will grow. The garden area faces NE by SW in a small bed of 10 ft x 20 ft. (My neighbors plot is double this size.) I’ll work on turning the soil over this week. Maybe I’ll get the disks hooked up to the tractor to smooth things out.

        My challenge now is my well quit working Saturday and my wife doesn’t want to spend the $$$$ to repair it since we have had it fixed three times in the past five years. To put it in cost over $10K, but the repairs have been almost as much –of course, the insurance company won’t pay unless they determine a problem. I can’t seem to win.

        My energy keeps being leached away by the other things I need to do. Staying healthy is getting to be a challenge, but it’s still better than the alternative.

      • janelindskold Says:

        I’m very sorry about your well. I hope it is soon “well.” Or at least all better.

  3. Harried Harry Says:

    Last week the well was fixed. It only cost $$$.35. Now to repair all the plumbing since none of the old stuff is compatible. Old stuff was coarse thread; current stock is all fine thread! New parts cost $15 but the cost in reading time is priceless.

  4. Harried Harry Says:

    OOPs. It cost just over $600. The pump had to be pulled and a new pipe added. I’m getting water, but I still need to replumb some of the pipe. The old connectors are not compatible with the new ones, so I’ll need to cut it all off and start all over.

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