Remember those cabbage sprouts? They were “Mei Ching Choi” variety of bok choi (brassica rapa var. chinensis). They did well… about 100 days from planting, they’ve produced beautiful little bok choi heads. Delicious in a stir fry! Here’s how they looked on Wednesday – just a few days past prime (you can see they’re starting to bolt, i.e., send up flower stalks).
Looking around this morning, a lot is happening in the garden today! Here’s a few:
Above, the viburnum prunifolium (aka Black Haw) is in bloom, with parabolas of small white flowers.
In the garden, remember those bok choi seedlings? They’re starting to look like bok choi already! (They’re about 66 days from the seed planting.) I’m not using any insect deterrents yet, so let’s hope they don’t get too munched. But we think we’ll get enough to have some baby bok choi for a stir fry at least.
Here’s the blooms on the green twig dogwood (cornus sericea ‘cardinal’), which is having a great spring though it was only planted last year.
Finally, continuing the 2016 seed project, here’s the first leaves on the nasturtiums! I planted these about three weeks ago, so they’re a bit slow to germinate but I’m looking forward to their colorful blooms, if they grow quick enough to beat the summer heat.
We had the chance to go out in the woods last weekend. It’s definitely spring in the MidAtlantic region, and it’s a great time to see the woods leafing out for summer! We saw spicebush (lindera benzoin) in bloom, with its understated light yellow flowers. Though small, they do stand out when everything else is still gray and brown. If you look closely, there was a native bee or fly gathering food on one.
Later, we also saw some service berries in bloom (amelanchier canadensis, I suspect). They have larger, but still rather slight five-petaled white blossoms.
U. of Maryland Extension reported that spicebush was blooming in Ellicott City, Maryland on March 24 this year, which was just a few days before this sighting.
I didn’t have a chance to post pictures of the onions earlier. We’re planning to plant today. So before I post on that, here’s the onion sprouts. These are about 5 weeks from seed sowing, and the third leaf is now visible:
When seeds sprouts, the sproutlings will have one (monocots) or two (dicots) leaves. Most of the herbaceous plants and vegetable types in our yards and gardens are dicots, including the cabbages. These initial sprouts grow from the nutrients provide by the seed, activated by light and water. After a few days, these cotyledons will sprout their first set of “true” leaves. These will be shaped more like the mature leaves that the plant will develop (the cotyledons have a few shapes and are all quite small, cabbages have sort of heart shape).
This morning, day 10 of the cabbage sproutlings, I noticed the true leaves are budding. You can just see them at the node between the two first leaves.
(The onions are monocots so will have a single leaf. More on them later.)
After the first week, the cabbage sprouts are one to two inches tall. This is the “Mei Ching Choi” variety of Brassica rapa.
Some of them (two next to the label) still have the seed husks stuck on the first leaves:
Within a day after 90% had sprouted, I placed them under a fluorescent light and started an initial mist with a liquid fertilizer. The fertilizer is mixed from a seaweed concentrate, SeaCom-PGR, diluted approximately 1:1,000. This concentrate should be rich in cytokinin hormones and deliver a 0-4-4 mix (i.e., no nitrogen but phosphate and potassium), so it should help root growth.
I’m hoping these will be ready to transplant after 4-6 weeks. That will put them in the ground early, but I’m planning to plant in staggered groups about a week apart to leave some backups if there is a hard frost. And if we’re lucky, that will also get us some early cabbage!
If you’re trying this at home, too, and your seedlings aren’t looking too healthy, they may be afflicted by “damping off,” a complex of fungal disease that can affect germinating seeds and seedlings. More information about that at “How to Prevent Seedling Damping Off.”