|Kilbourn Organic Greenhouse|
We transplanted our starts from their tiny cells in the seedling flats to larger pots. Transplanting is delicate work: the soil around the seedlings is loose and can fall away to expose fragile roots, which risks shocking or even killing the seedling.
(Sporting similes are rare among the Ginkgo crowd. We occasionally hear the crowds roar at Wrigley, but we’re usually doing something else at the time, like staking tomatoes or spraying aphid soap on kale leaves.)
|tubs of tempered water|
A better way to water seedlings is to submerge the entire flat of pots into a basin of water. The water wicks up from the bottom of the pot. When the soil at the top is moist, the pot is thoroughly irrigated. It is also good to use water that has been sitting around for some time. This “tempered water” won’t be so cold as to shock the seedlings; and if the water was drawn from a municipal tap, letting it sit allows some of the chlorine to vaporize. We avail ourselves of the tempered water that Kilbourn keeps in huge tubs next to its seed-watering stations.
|Dave with Kilbourn's Kirsten Akre|
Ours are truly coddled seedlings, thanks to the Kilbourn Organic Greenhouse: started in controlled conditions of heat and light; oxygenated by the breezes of air-circulating fans; and irrigated through capillary action using tempered water. All that they need to be like Kobe beef is to receive regular massages.
|May 7, 2011|
|May 14, 2011|
The idea of massaging seedlings seemed absurd until I read of the practice of brushing, in which one manipulates seedlings to encourage stronger stem growth. If we continue down this path, we’ll soon be wafting sage smoke in the greenhouse and playing Mozart to our tomato starts while performing tiny acts of horticultural Rolfing on them.