It has been about three weeks since I sowed my nightshades in little 1" pots down in the basement. Assisted by a home starter kit, which consists of a heated tray and a clear plastic lid, the tomatoes germinated within a week. The Fourth of July hybrids popped up first, followed by the Genuwine and the cherry tomatoes.

And then I accidentally killed them all.

Once the seelings emerged, I turned on the grow lamp hanging a few inched above the seed starter. Once the seedlings were getting gangly, I left the lid off for a few hours and turned on a small fan to blow air across them. This is supposed to help to help the stem grow strong and not weak and gangly. Unfortunately, I left the fan on all day and it dried out the seedling tops, killing them.

Start over.

In the mean time, the eggplants and paprika peppers germinated. The Jimmy Nardellos did not, so I also re-sowed these.

Now, the eggplants and peppers are looking nice and I see the beginnings of tiny true leaves starting to show. The second sowing of tomatoes have germinated and I see a single Jimmy Nardello starting to emerge.

Just in time for some record setting unseasonable warmth!

Late last week it turned pleasantly mild and this past weekend downright spring-like, with highs in the 70s. This weather is going to continue for at least three days. Moreover the lows will remain above even the danger of frost. Unheard of for a Midwestern February!

Taking cue from the professionals who have started tilling up their corn/soybean fields, I remembered the advice of my Master Gardener friend, to sow spinach outside as soon as the soil is workable. I now have 10 feet of a triple row of Tyee spinach ready for the rain which is forecasted on Tuesday.

Anticipating a warmer than normal March, I have started my brassicas, kale and broccoli, in the seed started down in the basement.

I have sent an inquiry to my friend asking for her advice. Since it will be partially sunny to mostly cloudy but warm in the daytime until late this week. Would my nightshades benefit from spending the days outside under my cold frame? Or will it still be too cold in the mornings for them?

I don't think I have the time to start eggplants and peppers again, so I don't want to harm them, but they love the heat that would build up in the frame and the partial sun would probably do them good.


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