More new arrivals: 4 O'Clock

Today marks four weeks of basement seed starting.

A 4 O'Clock showed up this morning! This is one that I planted from seeds harvested last fall. The second one shows no signs of appearing, so I've planted a few more seeds and maybe something will grow.

Baby tomato plants are doing well. One of them straightened up and now has tiny leaves. I have visions of plump, juicy tomatoes this year - if I can keep to a good watering schedule. Some of our tomatoes last year went bad on the vine after I missed a watering or two.

How many convolvulus did I say appeared? Anyway, there are four pots with these now, and now the spare seed in one of the pots poked up out of the ground. This must have been a challenge: this particular peat pot is filled with ordinary dirt from the back yard, which packs itself firmly after watering. Good for these plants for breaking through!

The nasturtium have begun having some problems. The are falling over, and I'm not sure why. The first one that fell somehow didn't get enough water, so I drenched everything last night. It's okay, but its stem isn't so straight any more. Now I'm having problems with a second one falling over, and this time water isn't obviously a reason. I added some more water anyway and leaned the plant against a stake. If I need to, I'll stake the plants permanently, though I'd rather not do this. Once again, I wonder how these things can survive outdoors - a light breeze will topple these :-(

One thing I noticed is that my one gazania this year is so much happier than the bunch I planted last year. Those were gangly messes from the get-go. This one seems a bit beefier. I planted it in ordinary dirt instead of seeding soil or the dehydrated expanding dirt pellets that come with the Burpee starter sets. I wonder of those specialty media are too rich in nutrients, so the plant grows vertically much faster than it can develop some heft. That's probably not what's going on, but I don't know. If you know the answer, can you please comment?

GarlicHere are my garlic plants (or "gahlic" as we call it in Boston). They're pretty happy, though I'll need to pot them soon as their roots are breaking through the peat pots.

The columbine starters are all growing now, 9 cells total, some have spares.

No action from the Cleome, which is disappointing. I reseeded.

Everything grows toward the center of the 4 foot (1.2m) fluorescent tubes, even though the lighting appears to be fairly even. Even the plants that are only slightly distant from the center need to be rotated occasionally.

I bought a potted fern last year that I tried bringing inside on Wednesday. Then yesterday I noticed it was smelling, and I realized that the smell was skunk. We have a neighborhood skunk that wanders around at night, much to the chagrin of several neighborhood dog owners, one of whom got sprayed a while back. Anyway, apparently the skunk was looking for grub at some point and came close enough to the fern to make it smell. Yuck. Back outside it went.

Fun fun! I'm looking forward to getting these all in the ground outside in a few weeks.