Seedlings

I might be a little bit late in starting, but better late than never? Seedlings should be started indoors 8-10 weeks before the last frost, but I usually never start that early. For my area, the last frost date is supposed to be May 9 – you can check for yours here. Based on this, I should have started anywhere from the beginning of March to around when I seeded. I guess I’m not too far off.

Books will also tell you that when you start seeds indoors, you should start with a heat pad and grow lights. As much as I’d love to have that fancy gear, it’s not cheap. I have had relatively good success without in the past, and I attribute that to having a west-facing window so my plants and seedlings do receive a fair amount of light and warmth from the sun. In fact, my plants and seedlings need to be watered often if the sun is shining the whole day.

On March 17, I seeded a few things: Super Chilli (Johnsons), Borage (Richters), Canadian Early Supersweet Hybrid Corn (McKenzie) and Rosa Bianca Eggplant from Urban Harvest.

Two days ago, I noticed something pretty amazing – one of the corn seeds was already sprouting! That’s 2 days after I seeded it! I should mention that I did not soak any of the seeds before using them. Unbelievable, especially since the packaging even says it takes 7-14 days to germinate.

The sprout was stuck under the mesh of the Jiffy peat pellet, so I gently pulled it out. The tip, as you will see from the photos, is a pale yellow colour. What is fascinating, at least to me, is what this sprout tip is responsible for. If you’ve ever grown anything, you will notice that the plant always bends towards the light, which is technically called phototropism. How does a plant know where the light is coming from if it does not have eyes? Charles Darwin conducted studies to understand how plants see. Through experiments, Darwin and his son discovered that plants bend towards light through the seedling tip. If the tip was cut off or covered with an opaque cap, the seedlings would remain upright. Now that I’ve exposed the tip, I can watch and see if it will bend towards the light. Well actually the sun has disappeared and it’s snowing now.

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