Wednesday, January 30, 2013

Seed Starting Part 3: Put 'em in the dirt!

It is so beautiful outside! Today the kids actually took their shirts off with permission while playing outside. I couldn't resist: I planted peas and carrots in one of my garden beds. I'm pretty sure there will be another cold snap and they won't do well, but all this sunshine and birdsong has me itching to grow things. On that note, are you ready to start some seeds?

All we really have left to do is put those seeds in the dirt. This year I used an odd assortment of containers, sticking to my if-it-costs-money-what's-the-point gardening motto. I've been saving all our small plastic yogurt cups, so I punched holes in the bottoms of them with a steak knife and filled them up with dirt. Then I had a seed-starter tray from last year and a few red Solo cups that I tried to start cabbages in over the winter. Titus and I filled them all with dirt and planted zinnia, basil, echinacea, tomato, eggplant, and pepper seeds. Oh yes, I planted a couple cucumber seeds, too. Plant markers were made from a Solo cup that I cut into pieces and wrote on with a permanent pen.

All my containers are sitting on the windowsill nearest the heater to speed up the seeds' germination. Peppers in particular require warmth to germinate, and the other nightshades appreciate heat too. As soon as those little guys pop out of the dirt, I will move them out to the greenhouse under the grow lights. All I have left to do is get ahold of a fan to set up in the greenhouse. I want to use it to strengthen my seedlings' stems, but also because the air is getting pretty humid and stagnant in there; I'm not trying to grow mold!

Now begins my most insecure part of gardening: waiting for the seeds to germinate. Every seed that doesn't pop up feels like some sort of personal failure. Year after year I am sure that nothing will grow and my garden will be a complete failure. But then a tiny plant pokes up its pretty green face and I am absolutely thrilled. I guess it is kind of ridiculous to have so much emotional energy tied up in a handful of miniscule seeds, but it is true. I am a gardening basket-case. Hopefully the seeds come up this year or you are in for some embarrassingly dramatic blog posts!

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