Posted By Jonathan on March 11, 2012
Today was round two for our indoor planting sessions. Last week, we planted eggplant seeds and I am sorry to say they have not sprouted as of yet. I have two ideas that may explain why they have not started growing. One – they are last year’s seed and so may be losing their vitality. Two – I watered them using aquarium water, and so have developed a thin, green layer of algae growing on the top of them. There may be something else in the aquarium water that is harming the seeds as well. But it’s possible also that the algae are releasing something in the soil that harms the seeds. The reason I think this is that my wife has planted a fair amount of flower seeds and we are experiencing the same thing with the algae and lack of growing.
So in addition to the milano onions and falltime leeks I planted today, I planted two more pots of eggplant, each with three seeds, instead of one, in the hopes of getting at least one plant. We have also discontinued watering seeds with aquarium water, and will just use that for outdoor plants that are established.
On to this weeks plantings. In addition to the new eggplant seeds, I also planted a couple of veggies that I am most looking forward to – Milano Onions and Falltime Leeks. We have one bed dedicated to each in our garden this year, both being 2 feet by 2 feet in size, or 4 square feet. After taking into account that each onion and each leek need about 4 inches of space, we are planting a total of 36 of each in their respective beds.
We had actually planned to have 3 beds of milano onions, each with 36 onions for a total of 108 onions, but we only have one packet of them, and would only be able to do maybe another half a bed. So we’re going to save some milano onion seed next year, and just plant some sets we get from the store in the other two beds.
Now some information about each seed.
They are described as a rare, beautiful, mildly hot, but complexly flavored red storage onion. They originated from Italy and are actually called The Rose of Milan (Rossa di milano). 🙂 They do better in long day climates, but also do well in short day areas as well. They will get about 3-4 inches wide and will be flat on top.
We are starting ours in early March, which is recommended so they can get to the appropriate size. They can germinate in soil temperatures down to 50F so we are not adding any heat to the starts.
They are supposed to germinate within 7 to 14 days, and they will mature in 110 to 120 days, which is about 4 months.
Falltime leeks are actually summer leeks, and will not overwinter very well, unlike most other leeks which are very frost tolerant. The shanks get up to 3 feet long. Leeks, unlike onions, will not form a bulb, but will develop a thick stem, called a shank, which is the edible part of the plant.
When planting them, it is best to plant them a bit deeper to blanch more of the stem. Stem exposed to the sun will be green and not as tasty. As the leek grows, mound more soil around it to blanch more of the shank.
We are starting our in mid March which is recommended just like the milanos. They can also germinate in cool soil and so we are merely covering the trays and not applying any heat.
They mature in 80 to 90 days, which is about 3 months, and should germinate after 7 to 14 days.
As you can see from the photos below, we are growing all the milano onions and falltime leeks in the same tray. The tray has 72 cells, which is perfect because we are plant 36 of each (no we did not plan it this way)! (36 X 2 = 72)
Once we got them planted, we just put a cover on them, and have them under the grow lights!