Seedlings everywhere!

I have been woefully neglecting my blog for weeks now for a couple of good reasons. My granddaughter was here visiting for the past couple of weeks with my step-daughter. They live very far away, so while they were here, spending time together was priority #1. My second priority was due on Friday, which I am proud to say was submitted on time and complete. This is my first time ever writing a grant and it took more time, energy, and brain-capacity than I expected. I am amused that writing a grant about growing medicinal herbs has set me so far back from my goals in actually growing them, but I expect I will catch up soon.

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Yesterday I waved goodbye to the last of our houseguests and got to work. I started jolokia chiles, eclipta prostata/han lien cao, aconite/fu zhi, and Hales Best muskmelon to replace my magical disappearing cantaloupe seeds. I planted the muskmelon seeds in  pots made from recycled newspaper pulp that can be planted right in the ground when the seedlings are large enough. I also teased out the germinated  hookweed/chuan niu xi and passionflower seeds and potted them up. That’s an experiment I’m cautiously surprised worked- the seeds were packed in damp sand and put in the fridge in mid-February. About three weeks ago I placed the jars in a warm protected spot outside, making the jars into damp mini-greenhouses. Then I watched them for germination. 100% germination on the passionflower seeds, but only about 30% on the hookweed, so I’m cautiously optimistic.

This is more seeds than I’ve ever started, and I’m only about halfway done. I must plant out the ashwagandha, tomatillos, madder, and eggplant seedlings soon, and then still have to figure out whether to direct sow or start in pots the rest of the medicinal herb seeds: dang shen/ codonopsis, xuan shen/figwort, jie geng/Chinese bellflower, and jiao gu lan/sweet tea vine.

I am still bringing all the seedlings in the house most nights and anytime rain threatens, and then putting them back outside in the morning. I can’t wait for the greenhouse to be built!

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