Well, the shallot seeds are finally planted! Yay!
After adding more water and letting it soak overnight, we were left with a sort of peat slurry! 😀 No fear of the seeds not getting enough moisture, this time!
To contain any potential mess, I set up inside the under-bed storage container that will eventually be used to hold the beer cups that I will be using as larger pots, when it’s time to start the squash seeds. It won’t be needed for some weeks, yet, and it was the perfect size and depth for this job.
It’s a bit hard to see in the photo, but you can tell why having something under the trays to support them was so essential. The first tray I filled is the slightly darker one on the left. It’s darker, because the cardboard is completely wet! Which means it’s also very floppy. There is no way these trays could be handled, without something solid under them.
When I planted the bulb onions, I was left with about half a package of unused seeds.
Not the shallots! I had just enough seed to put two in every cell, minus 1 seed. 😀
Though the peat was well saturated, I still sprayed the tops, more to settle the surface than for actual watering. When it came time to move the trays, I tipped them side to side a bit, to allow excess water that had soaked through the cardboard to spill off.
To get the trays into the tank, I had to take the light fixture off completely. All the trays fit perfectly, from end to end. If I wanted to, I’d be able to fit pots or egg cartons (dozen size, not 18’s) in the space at the front. That isn’t needed now, but when it’s time to start other seeds, we might find ourselves crowding the space as much as possible.
We freed up an 18 count egg carton this morning, so I checked out the fit in the smaller tank. One carton fits, of course, but only in one direction, and it’s long enough that we would not be able to fit in a second one. So I went back to my stack of flats and picked out two. The trays are 5 x 6 cells, and I cut them down to 5 x 5. That will allow two trays to fit in the smaller tank.
I will be adding a bit more peat to the container to absorb some of the excess water and leave it overnight. Tomorrow, I’ll be able to use the cut down trays and start the bunching onions in the small tank. 🙂
Between these and the onion sets we’ll be getting in the spring, we should have enough onions in total, for fresh eating and for winter storage, to last us a year, if all goes well. With the bunching onions, I plan to dehydrate a lot of them, but will probably freeze some, too. We do use a lot of onions. I stopped to figure it out, and estimate we use about 200 yellow cooking onions a year, alone. Those are the ones we buy regularly. On top of that are the red onions, bunching onions and leeks we get more irregularly. We don’t usually buy shallots at all, because they are a fair bit more expensive. So it’s well worth the time end effort for us to grow a lot of onions! We won’t be trying this year, but I am hoping that by next year, we’ll be able to try growing leeks, too.
By the end if this year’s gardening, we’ll have a better handle on whether it’s worth it to keep growing from seed, or to go with buying sets. Growing from seed, for the amounts we’re after, takes up a lot of space, but there are more varieties available in seed than in sets. Either way, it’s going to be a trade off.
As a side note, we had company while I was working on the seeds.
I love that they’re coming around during the day now, when we can actually see them! 😀 They are so beautiful!