Tuesday, March 17, 2009

It's the Final Sproutdown!

After my not-so-hot first time planting experience last season, I decided this time around that buying a lot of seedlings for the garden was both too expensive and too depressing to make it worthwhile. It's expensive because it's about $2.50 to $5 a seedling and you need quite a few to fill up a row. And it's depressing when every seedling you buy wilts and dies within 10 days. Been there, done that. Don't want to do it again.

I decided that I'd buy just a handful of seedlings this time around and try my hand at starting more things from seed. Last time we did great sewing seeds directly in the garden even though many of them died before producing anything. This time I thought we might have even better luck starting the seeds indoors and then transplanting lots of seedlings. It just feels more economical to try it this way and I feel that with our garden there's safety in numbers.

I found a little mini-greenhouse seed starter kit at our local hardware store for under $5, so the price was right for this experiment. The directions were touted as simple enough for a child to understand, so it was perfect. It said to add a special seed starting mix to each little pot, so we filled the little pots with Miracle Grow potting mix because that's all we had on-hand.

Then it said to make a hole and drop two seeds in each hole. I cannot wrap my head around why you put two seeds in one hole. But we followed the directions - reluctantly.

We got a big stash of seeds and read the backs to find out which ones can be started indoors. I let the boys pick out which ones they wanted to try. This involved them in the gardening process and gave me two scapegoats to lay the blame on when this little seed starting gig doesn't work. I can call it the "children's project" and just roll my eyes at their inexperience when nothing sprouts. I'm not above this.

So after packing the little pots, we grabbed a pencil to make holes in each one somewhat close to what the backs of the seed packaging suggested. Then we started planting two seeds in each hole.

There are 12 little sections with 6 pots in each one. We chose 8 different types of seeds - Zucchini, cantaloupe, broccoli, watermelon, cauliflower, okra, tomatoes and lettuce. Then we were left with 4 empty sections. I divided these sections up into 8 rows and decided to see what would happen if we only planted one seed of the above-mentioned types in each pot since the two-seeds-per-pot nonsense bothered me. Is there any question as to why we can't grow things? I doubt everything I read.

I discovered that it's essential to make a little chart in a notebook to record where each seed type was planted. And then it's even more essential to put a sticker somewhere on the seed starter kit showing where at least ONE of the seed types is planted so you can figure out which way up the thing goes when you're referring to your chart in your notebook.

Then we watered them and put the top on them. The directions said to put them under a light, keep the soil wet and wait for life to blossom. So I stuck them on the patio since we have sunlight out there. I can't imagine they'd be better in the house than on the patio, so that's where they're living. We're crossing our fingers that at some point something sprouts.


engineeredgarden said...

Kate, i'll give you a little input on the germination of your seeds, (if you don't mind, that is)....The cool weather veggies (lettuce, broccoli)actually prefer cool temperatures to germinate (50-70 degrees). If the mini greenhouse is kept outside with the lid on - exposed to full sunshine, I don't feel they will make it very long. If they germinate, they'll quickly dry up, because of the heat buildup inside the greenhouse, which can easily buildup to 100 degrees. However, the tomatoes will love it! I hope your seed starting is prosperous, because I'd hate for the boys to get blamed for any more failures. Ha! You're too funny! I'm so glad I found your blog.


Daphne said...

Good luck with your seeds.

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