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Garden Update

After the setback of  accumulated snow earlier in the week the weather has now become much sunnier and spring-like.

Tomato seedlings crowded two or three to a cell and starting to push out their first true leaves

Tomato seedlings crowded two or three to a cell and starting to push out their first true leaves

The tomatoes germinated at a much better rate than expected.  This means that I face one of the tougher moments in the gardening year.  Two or three seedlings cannot co-exist in a single cell.  They will compete for nutrients and water and end up killing each other.  More to the point it is very difficult (at least for amateurs gardeners of my level) to separate the delicate root systems and transplant these tiny siamese seedlings into separate containers.  The only solution I can see is to use a pair of scissors to remove all but the strongest seedling in each cell.  It is a amazing that each of these little guys will produce at least ten pounds of tomatoes if given the right growing conditions but similarly difficult to willfully destroy the seedlings that have nothing obviously wrong with them.

Only the strongest tomato seedlings avoid the trimming scissors

Only the strongest tomato seedlings avoid the trimming scissors

The strongest seedlings are left to continue growing.  This is often the tallest but sometimes can be the seedling furthest towards producing true leaves.  Every tomato seed produces a shoot that opens into two seed leaves.  From the union of these seed leaves the plant puts out its new growth and the first leaves that look distinctly like tomato plants.

Lettuce thrives in the cool sunny spring weather

Lettuce thrives in the cool sunny spring weather

In the backyard greenhouse the lettuce is continuing its strong growth.  I’ve scattered some more seeds amongst the existing plants for a second crop and will harvest some of the first leaves soon for an early spring salad.   The radish and spinach seeds are germinating at a very good rate.

Radish seedlings break free from the seed coats and start the germination process

Radish seedlings break free from the seed coats and start the germination process

The warmer weather means that the lettuce seems to be consuming more water.  This is another shift in the gardening year that I find needs conscious effort as I move from delicately spraying single cells to remembering to pour much greater quantities of water directly into the lettuce container.

Hot pepper seeds went into the germination tray this weekend.  Like last year I will be growing Red Cayenne and Hungarian Hot Wax varieties.  Hopefully, by changing the seeding mix from last year (no under-matured compost this time) I will avoid also growing a swamp maple weed.

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