Lately, I’ve been using photo sharing sites/apps like Instagram and Flickr to chart the progress of my seeds and seedlings as they germinate and grow. My older model iPhone does not take the nicest photos under low-light conditions, but I’ve found it to be a helpful way to track progress for my own purposes, especially when I can’t be relied on to write the proper date on plant tags! Let’s hope that it was wishful thinking on the part of my subconscious mind and not the effects of aging that caused me to inexplicably write “Sept” instead of “Jan” on the first round of hot peppers that I sowed a month and a half ago.
And look at them now! I start many of my hot pepper seeds very early because some species and varieties can take longer than others to produce mature fruit. Habanero varieties (Capsicum chinense) and others like Capsicum baccatum species (they often have names that begin with “Aji”) or the Rocotos (Capsicum pubescens) are famous for this and I have learned my lesson from fruitless seasons that it is better to start sooner rather than later. Unfortunately I may regret starting the variety in this picture, ‘Pasila Bajila,’ so early as it is already a monster.
Besides hot peppers I have also started a variety of long season tomato relatives, violas, and a few non-edible plants. Among my current favourites is clary sage (Salvia sclarea), a beautiful, non-edible salvia with an intoxicating scent. It is often used in the cosmetics industry as a perfume and boasts some medicinal properties that I have never paid mind to. The plant is a biennial that produces an amazing plume of flowers in its second year and then dies. I grew one in a pot for two years and overwintered it indoors as I was never sure if I could provide the conditions it required to stay out permanently. This year I’m taking my chances with one in the garden and several seedlings that will go out when it is warm enough. The seed packet says that this plant is finicky about transplanting, but I didn’t seem to have any transplanting issues in the past. Luck, perhaps? Regardless, I’ve got an entire pack of seeds to play around with — should all of these seedlings die, I can still direct sow outdoors after the last frost. It was very easy to grow from seed, so easy that I have more seedlings than I need. I’ve potted one up specially and placed it next to my desk so I can rub and smell its soft, fuzzy leaves throughout the day.
‘Ditmarsher’ s well as a few dwarf tomato varieties are up next.
Have you started seeds?