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Please do not laugh...

Posted by adamark 5 w Chicago subs (My Page) on
Mon, Mar 1, 10 at 15:43

This is my first year. I didn't read before I started seeding. Anyway, I planted beats (!), lettuce and cabbage a couple of weeks ago. Now I have pretty nice seedlings (a bit leggy, though) and I don't know what to do next. Did any of you EVER transplanted beats? I guess lettuce and cabbage would be OK, since I've seen them in stores. Do I have to wait for second/third leaves?


Follow-Up Postings:

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RE: Please do not laugh...

No laughing here! Though we don't thinks of beets as being a transplantable crop (since they are a root vegetable), they actually CAN do quite well! Lots of people say that their beet transplants do better than those which are sown directly into the soil. I know of some commercial growers who are starting their beets in the greenhouse, then transplanting them as soon as the weather permits!

My only concern is how soon you'll be able to get your plants into the garden. Did you sow the seeds in a flat, or into individual cell packs (or similar)?

Lack of sufficient sunlight (or artificial light in the correct spectrum) and/or excess heat are often the reason(s) for leggy seedlings. Your crops can do very well in a chilly room (ok...cold) at this point. If you heated the soil to spur germination, unplug the source of heat.


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RE: Please do not laugh...

  • Posted by adamark 5 W Chicago subs (My Page) on
    Mon, Mar 1, 10 at 18:07

Thanks rhizo 1, since these are my FIRST seedlings, I'm committed. They are in single cells. Looks like almost all seed sprouted so I'll have to do some killing. Light - two fluorescent bulbs (store type?). I just noticed, one just died. They are in the basment, however, heated. They only have one set of leves, cotyledones? same cabbage and lettuce.


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RE: Please do not laugh...

Hi adamark - my primary concern is that you started these awfully early. ;) It's going to be some time before they can go to the garden in your zone.

Best bet for keeping them going is to transplant them to larger containers OR you can use these as a practice run and start some new ones in a couple of weeks. If you can in the meantime, lay in another light fixture too. You don't really need to heat the basement unless it gets below say 45 degrees. The cooler temps will slow their growth and give you a better chance of keeping them long enough to transplant to the garden.

Good luck.

Dave

PS: if you haven't already checked them out we have some great FAQs here on how to grow from seed. Just click the blue FAQ button on the top of the forum front page.


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RE: Please do not laugh...

Hey adam, this is my first year doing this too. Noticed you were new here. Welcome! And don't worry - these people know everything! ;)

I'm not far from you, and I'm starting my chard and spinach in a few weeks or so. So hopefully you shouldn't have too much of a problem. How close are the seedlings to the light?

Kim


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RE: Please do not laugh...

adamark,

If you really want to keep these guys going, get the temp where they are as low as reasonable (50 degrees will be fine, as these plants are your "cold hardy" varieties). As such, the warmer (80+ degrees for extended periods) they are, the quicker they are going to try to bolt (go to seed) and that will lead to bitter flavor. (The beets are biennial, so they will go to seed the second year.)

Dave is right though, a second fluorescent fixture would be a very valuable investment (especially since you can probably get the fixture and bulbs for less than $15). Your plants will need some good light to keep from getting leggy. Keep the plants about 2-3 inches from the top of your plants. If you keep the plants 4-6 inches away, the light intensity will be 1/4 of the 2-3 inches.
I


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RE: Please do not laugh...

Beets NEVER do well for me. I think I might try starting them early and transplant after reading this. Thanks!

Andrea


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RE: Please do not laugh...

  • Posted by adamark 5 W Chicago subs (My Page) on
    Sun, Mar 7, 10 at 21:05

Guess what - I trasplanted those beets to larger containers and they look very happy. Except, it was a pain... in general, transplanting veggies seems quite a challenge. Today I was transplanting cabbage and lettuce. First of all, why did I saw so much. Looks like all seed sprouted. After 20th transplaned cabbage, I decided enough is enough. Where I'll plant all those veggies and who is going to eat them. So I have a horrible confession - not that I've killed my babies, I ate them. I don't even feel guilty - nice salad with beet, lattuce and cabagge sprouts.

May be someone interested - I figure out an easy way to transplant a leggy sprout. I fille the bottom and on site of the contained with soil. Laid container on the site, soil at the bottom, laid a leggy sprout on the soil and fill the other site with the soil. I'm afraid, it sound complicated but worked pretty well for me. Those sprouts were tiny and long. Well, hope it might work for you.


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RE: Please do not laugh...cont

  • Posted by adamark 5 W Chicago subs (My Page) on
    Sun, Mar 7, 10 at 21:17

I've previewed the prevoius post and still all those typos, sorry. Re transplanting:
1/ fill the container with soil less then .5 inch at the bottom and on one site,
2/ lay container on the site with the soil
3/ lay leggy sprout on the soil
4/ keep conainer straight and fill the other site with soil

Maybe this is nothing new, but, again, it worked for me.


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RE: Please do not laugh...

I'm not laughing that you started beets, I think it is funny that you ate the extras. :o) The reason there are so many is that beet seeds actually have four seeds kernals in each seed. If you plant two seeds you can get as many as eight plants. Good luck with your plants. It is very satisfying. Linda


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RE: Please do not laugh...

Beet tops are among my favorite greens. Right up there with mustard greens. Al


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