Seedlings For Days – Or Just Summer

Every February – and I mean EVERY February – I end up completely blindsided by planning my garden for the summer. This is not because I don’t know what I want to plant (okay, maybe a little) or because I don’t know how, but because I start from seedlings and well, I’m bad at it.

Exhibit A: I attempted to grow a dozen or so varieties of summer vegetables last year under a light in my garage. It started promising enough, with all of my plants sprouting in record time! But then my light was too high and I didn’t keep them moist enough and I lost HALF. I had to get starts from the nursery. It was almost as embarrassing at having to buy eggs at the grocery store when you have 3 laying hens in your backyard.

So much promise. *sigh*

Exhibit B: the year before that, I tried to start plants by the heat method, which involves putting seeds in a more or less sealed container over a heat source and the heat helps them germinate that much faster. Well, not having a seedling heat mat, I worked with what I did have: a heater vent with a bookcase over it, so it was nice and toasty underneath. The seeds sprouted alright. And then promptly rotted. *gag*

So this year I got a seedling tray and am going to give this prepackaged version a try. I had some seeds (read: too many), got more from a friend, and then went to the nursery unchaperoned and bought a bunch more. So I was ready. Sort of.

I don’t always get seeds at the nursery, but when I do, I always get too many

I can’t seem to do anything in the garden without extensive diagrams and lists, and this was no exception.

Do I really want 24 soybean plants?

After doing many math calculations about how dense to plant the different vegetables, researching which plants could be planted near each other vs. which should be kept separate, and consulting my handy local chart on planting times, I end up mostly winging it. I run out of space in my seed tray so I reduce the density of certain vegetables, like radishes. My family doesn’t even really eat radishes, so planting 20 of them seems… ill-advised. Also, I have time to plant NOW and even though pumpkins really should be sowed directly into the garden bed in April, Mama ain’t got time for that. So, into the seed tray they all went.

In the very short time the seeds have been sown in soil, they have already been attacked by the dog (why? I have no clue), eyed by the chickens, and narrowly missed the mortally wounding ministrations of an overly attentive 4 year old. So far, so good.

What was he doing? Tap dancing?

They just have to survive MY attentions, or lack thereof, until they can be planted in the beds. I’ll be proud to have gotten them at least that far!

Back UP chickens, no seedlings for you

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