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Seven Days

Posted by kevinwolz on April 12, 2010

One week down! After just seven days of growth, my Brassica seedlings are each 1-2 inches tall and looking strong! Broccoli is leading the way with a 25/26 germination rate. That’s almost perfect! Then comes cauliflower with 16/22 (nice), Brussels sprouts with 13/20 (eh…), and finally cabbage with 9/20 (lame!). Through cross-shelf comparison, I can definitely say that the heat pads helped speed germination. However, the heat pads alone do not explain the range observed between varieties. It’s hard to say, but I think I have enough controls to rule out differences between container size, shape, material, etc. Sunlight and water conditions have been the same across the board as well. The variation may just be intrinsic traits for each variety. Regardless, broccoli is doing the best, and that’s what I’m most anxious for.

At this point, the cotyledons are starting to spread, the apical meristems are starting to pop, and the true leaves are on their way. Yes, this means that those two things you see on the seedlings are not true leaves; they are cotyledons. Cotyledons (Greek for “seed leaf”) are formed in the embryo prior to germination and usually give way to “true” leaves relatively soon after emerging. Nevertheless, in dicots (plants with two cotyledons) like my Brassicas, the cotyledons are photosynthetic and functionally very similar to true leaves. Anyway…

Since I originally planted two seeds per hole/container, my main task at this stage is to thin the seedlings to one each. This will reduce competition and allow the remaining seedlings to prosper. THIS IS A LOT HARDER THAN IT SOUNDS! Yes, physically, it involves a simple pinch with the fingers. But, emotionally…wow! It’s really hard to kill almost half of what you’ve worked so hard to achieve! All for the greater cause I suppose…

More seeds were sown this week as well! I sowed about a dozen each of oregano seeds and marigold seeds. Oregano is obviously tasty, but the marigolds are not for culinary purposes. Instead, the marigolds will be planted throughout the garden to help the other plants. They are great companions that supposedly do wonders for the surrounding plants. The best part: These particular marigolds can be traced back to Thomas Jefferson himself! The seeds were hijacked and bootlegged back here from Monticello by my very own grandmother…talk about seeding the spread of culture!

Furthermore, in the recently constructed mock greenhouse #2 at our home, my parents have started another batch of seedlings: 25 sunberry plants. Sunberry is a long-lost cousin of the Solanum (tomato) family that grows to a small shrub and produces mildly sweet, blueberry-like berries. I have almost no information on how to grow these things, so we’ll just have to experiment and see how it goes. I’m really happy that my parents jumped on board to help me out at home; I just don’t have the space here to start all that I want. Thanks guys!

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2 Responses to “Seven Days”

  1. Joan said

    Kevin,

    Sounds great. But correction: you make it sound like I “stole” the seeds directly from Monticello. I got them from a Lewis & Clark
    Interpretive center where they had
    flowers grown from seeds that came from Monticello. All I did was
    deadhead a couple of the marigolds.
    They had loads and loads of them. I’m going to plant them in my garden, too. My few red tulips (one of my favorite spring bulbs)opened
    today! You sound as excited with your seedlings and I was today to see them. GB

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