Plant some seeds, they said. It is EASY, they said. Pa made it seem so easy on Little House on the Prairie (well, once they found the professor who bought corn in Mankato in the ditch where he crashed, the planting part was easy)! Friends, it is not. Well, not for me it wasn’t.
I took a seed starting class at Guilford Garden Center in February. I am almost hesitant to put a link to their site in this post because my results are so terrible. But alas, I have some things I will try next year, and Christina at the Garden Center talks a lot about gardening being about learning. Boy did I learn!
In the class, we were given the trays, sterile soil, a few seed packets, and plant markers. We watered the soil and between the 10 of us in the class, we took turns introducing our seeds and teaching our classmates about the seeds. What this means in reality is we poured seeds from the packets Christina gave us onto paper plates for our classmates to share, then read seed packet information out loud for everyone. It was a great way to learn how to read said seed packet and understand how to translate the information into practice. Plus we were able to leave with 17 different kinds of vegetables and flowers planted in rows of our 2 trays! All for only $25.
We watered, covered with the plastic lids and watched. And watered and watched. I got heat mats, watered, and watched. And watered and watched. I added lamps, then watered and watched. And watered and watched.
It was really neat to see the progress, and I started making lists and diagrams about where in the yard I was going to put all the new plants I was growing. Then there was some sort of mass suicide in my trays and everyone shriveled up and died.
From what I understand, there is a chance a seed or two is still viable. Joe Lamp’l (aka Joe Gardener) recommends just set the trays out and let Nature take her course. So that is what I have done. Part shade because I don’t know what is where – note the plant tags that have all slid around.
Key learnings for next year:
1 – Take the lid off as soon as first shoots come through. I think the death was more related to dampening off than purple capes and Koolaid.
2 – Get brighter bulbs for lamps. I used regular lamps, not grow lights so I will see what kind of stronger bulb I can find next year. Hanging grow lights are not an option for me at this point.