The best crop of a garden, year after year, is hope.
And never is that more true than at seed starting time. Some seeds require more patience than others. Peas and beans may spring forth within a couple of days with a stout green cotyledon that promises shapely leaves almost immediately. Onions and potatoes will put out roots and shoots while sitting on your pantry shelf. Tiny seeds, eggplants for instance, are a waiting game...
I'm always hesitant to set up the grow lights because they take over a lot of space in our tiny house. I have an old pine table that is the perfect size for two flats. A vinyl table cloth protects the table. I have a power strip with a built in timer so the lights and heating pads are on for 12 hours and off for twelve.
I started the eggplants on wet paper towels for two reasons. Firstly, the seeds are quite old and I know they will not all germinate. Starting them on the towels lets me easily spot the ones that are viable. And secondly... eggplant seeds take FOREVER to germinate. I have had to wait as long as two weeks for an eggplant seed to sprout. Today is day seven and I have 3 out of 40 sprouting. I only plan on planting 15 plants and of those I will keep 5 and give away whatever is left.
And THIS is all the bigger the sprout is on day 7. If it were in a pot of soil I would still be waiting for visible proof. Oh the suspense! I just couldn't take it. The wet towels are the only way to go. Today I also planted pepper seeds (directly into pots) and next week I will start thinking about tomato seeds.