Lettuce Begin

Hello Garden Gals and Guys! It looks like spring has got winter on the ropes! Atta girl, spring! Let winter know who's the boss! I just love that the days are getting longer...and WARMER! My seedling babies are really doing well. I have to say that this is the first year that starting my lettuce indoors was so successful. Here they are:



You can even see the leaves starting to get a little red...they are SO adorable! Here's a wider shot for some perspective:


It's about time to start thinning them, but only the ones that have more than two in them. It seems no matter how careful I am, I always drop a few extra seeds in some of them. 

What is thinning? Well, when you grow from seed, the instructions tell you to put 2-3 seeds in each pot (or cell pack, or in my case peat pellet). After the seedlings have emerged and are about 2-3 inches tall, you choose the one that looks the largest and then remove the others. Since lettuce roots are very delicate, I take a small pair of scissors and snip the weaker seedlings at the soil line. 

I know...that sounds so mean...they all deserve a chance to live right? Not so in gardening, my friends. See, there's only so much room in those cell packs for roots. If you have too many seedlings in each one, they are all fighting for the limited nutrients in the seed starting mix. But if you thin them, choosing the most robust, that one single plant gets more nutrients and has more room to thrive. 

You may be wondering if you can just fertilize them so that you don't have to thin them. Well, fertilizing with an organic fertilizer when the plants have their "true" leaves should always be done. I always use a water soluble seaweed fertilizer. But the plants still need to be thinned (and this goes for all seedlings) so that the roots have more room to spread out. Not thinning can really stunt the growth of your seedlings and you don't want that. 

So there's your gardening tip for today. On another note, the longer days mean my chickens are starting to lay more eggs. I was getting 1-2 eggs a day, down from the four-a-day I was enjoying during the summer. That's normal because chickens lay fewer eggs in the winter due to the shorter days.  

Well, the girls are getting happy because over the last two days I have gotten five eggs each day...so one of my girls is laying two a day...and I'm not complaining. Look at these beauties:


That's ten eggs! Yum. I have saved so much money on eggs. We eat a lot of them. I would buy 2 or 3 dozen a week before I had chickens at about $2 to $3 per dozen. But in two days time I got almost a dozen...from my own backyard farm. I'll let you do the math on that. The taste of fresh eggs is amazing. I'll never buy eggs from the store again. 

Well, that's all for now garden gals and guys! Until next time....

Happy gardening!



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