Garden Adventure Update: Legging seedlings and more.


It has been a long busy week not only for myself but for my seedlings as well.

I have had lots of new growth which has been exciting, but there has been also some loss. The green and red peppers got a little bigger this week and more celery appeared, my asparagus popped, also my money plant, and a couple of my herbs, chamomile, sage and thyme. OMG I just saw some lavender! Some of my cherry tomatoes didn't make it though. I think I didn't thin those out soon enough. Then my one small pot of cherry tomatoes that was doing good fell off the table, and now they're not looking so well. I think I'm going to have to restart those along with the eggplants, and my broccoli that has been legging.

If you don't know what legging means, no, it's not fake pants. It's referring to the stems of your plants getting really, really long and stringy and falling over. It means that they are not getting enough sunlight, so in order to reach the light they make themselves grow even longer. Crowding can also cause legging because they're competing for light. Insufficient air flow can cause this as well. There are some tips you can try to stop your seedlings from legging, such as simply giving them more sunlight, replanting them deeper into the pot, or even thinning them out sometimes can help, and leaving a fan on low for them. And if it's early enough in the season, and they're that leggy you might just want to restart them. Which is what I have to do with my broccoli because they've completely fallen over. When I replant my second set of broccoli I'm going to try and find a sunnier spot to leave them in. Seedling need 12-16 hours of sunlight at the beginning. I might try to see if I can save a cherry tomato plant or two, but I think I have to start those over again as well as eggplant they didn't take well to the hardening the other day. Oh well, you live and you learn right?

I'm getting excited because some of my plants are almost ready for their first fertilization. My big red tomatoes are starting to show their true leaves. These are the leaves that are responsible for photosynthesis and allowing the plant to make its own food. You can see them on my big red plants they are tiny leaves in between the bigger seed leaves. They usually show up about 2 to 3 weeks after the seedling sprouts. The true leaves mean that they can be fertilized. You don't want to do it before they emerge, because the seed embryo already contains the right nutrients for it to start growing. I did it too soon last year and killed some plants. Once it gets it's true leaves it needs more and that's where the fertilizer comes in. I use a fish fertilizer that my friend recommended it's a 5-1-1 fertilizer. I picked it up at Lowe's.

Photo: Steph Dansereau