The tomatoes are off and running! This picture was taken 2 days ago. The seedlings have their first set of real leaves and are ready to be thinned and more dirt added to their cups. The cool thing about tomatoes is that they will develop roots along their stems, so if you add dirt to the seedlings while they're growing, you'll end up with transplants with stronger and more developed root systems. When you plant them out, you can plant them deeper than you normally would (so that only the leaves are showing above ground) for an even better chance for growing more roots and doing better in the garden.
On Thursday, I watered the seedlings with a shot of seaweed and fish emulsion, diluted in a lot of water of course, and this is what the seedlings looked like this morning.
Yikes! They grew like crazy in just a matter of days! On the agenda today is thinning the seedlings and adding more soil to the cups. I will actually pot up the seedlings I thin out, so I'll have double the number of most varieties. Some of these are already over the top of their cups and it's almost time to adjust the lights up so they don't touch the bulbs. I will continue to fertilize them with the seaweed & fish emulsion mixture weekly. I also need to sow my peppers and a few herbs.
I received my order of onion sets from Dixondale Farms this past Wednesday! I ordered a short-day sampler (1015Y, Texas Early White, and Red Creole) and a bunch of Texas Legend onions. Those also need to get planted today. This year, I ordered their organic fertilizer and plan to use that to see if it helps my onion harvest. I've had less than stellar results with onions the past 3 years and I'm determined to have success this year. I absolutely LOVE onions and would plant that exclusively if my husband didn't think we needed other veggies and such in the garden.
Gardening in Texas is unique. Gardening in North Texas is more unique still. Due to our climate, we have a very long growing season. I have plants in my gardens that start strutting their stuff in late February and don't fizzle out until the first frost. We can grow some colder climate plants and some warmer climate plants. The blazing summer temperatures set in about May and continue through September, so smart gardeners grow plants native to Texas that require little water.
Full sun in Texas does not mean the same thing as full sun in other parts of the country. Most full sun plants grown easily in other areas of the US need part shade in Texas. Plants that have "average" water needs for other parts of the country require extra water here in Texas. Gardening in Texas is an exercise in patience and perseverance. Almost everything I've learned has been through trial and error.