When last we left the Precoce D’Argenteuil Asparagus seedlings, they were ferning out in their Jiffy-7 pellets like this:
It was time to take them downstairs and put them in newspaper pots so that their roots would have room to branch out. Here are what they looked like as I repotted them in my basement potting room:
It’s too cold in the basement for the seedlings, so I lug the trays back up to the guest room where they are placed under lights. We adapted the African Violet table I purchased at the local auction for $25 in the late 80s so that we could move the lights up as the plants grow. So far, they are ferming out, rather than getting taller, so I haven’t moved the lights up yet.
With seedlings, one should always keep the lights just above the top of the plant so that the plant puts its effort into growing a sturdy stem and a robust root system, rather than putting all its energy into growing the stem to reach the light and becoming “leggy.” A “leggy” plant will have a weak stem that can be blown over in the wind when transplanted outside.
Right now we have 5 trays of asparagus seedlings in newspaper pots, 2 trays in pellets and 1/2 tray still on the heat mat. Since there is room on the heat mat, I added onion and leek seeds which haven’t germinated yet. When all the asparagus seeds are off the heat mat, I’ll put this year’s hot and sweet pepper seed on it.
We are well onto our goal of having 200 Precoce D’Argenteuil Asparagus plants to transplant into the asparagus field in May. With the heat mat going 24/7 and the African Violet table on 16 hours a day, plus the Eastern sun exposure from the windows, the guest room is warm and comfy — the dogs come running to enjoy napping in the heat when I open the door to work on my computer.