Saturday, June 16, 2012

Gardening Lessons Learned - Seedlings

So I promised I would write some of my lessons learned at the end of the season.

Then I decided that was silly.  I've already made a ton of mistakes and I'm probably going to make a billion more and then I won't remember them to write them down until I make them again next year.

Sigh.  To be perfect.

Lesson 1 - I am not above warnings on other gardening blogs

As previously stated, I am something of a perfectionist (my husband would probably chime in here that I am freakishly obsessive).  And I won't argue.  Too loudly.  I did spend the greater part of my planting time stumped by which seeds should go together in which pot and where they should be placed on the sidewalk and attempting not to be overwhelmed by all the options and potential disasters.  But that's totally normal, right?

As such, I've been reading way too many gardening forums and blogs.  ::Burpee has a new one, by the way, Burpee's Backyard.  I think I like it thus far.::  So anyway, after I decided on my plants (plus a few later on), I tried to start my seedlings indoors six to eight weeks before planting.

I used old, clean yogurt cups, which were great.  I will definitely use them again next year.  (Please excuse the hole in the wall and electrical bits - we have a bit of wiring to be looked at to get the lights working by my craft area.)

But I did not drill holes in the bottoms as recommended by nearly everyone on the face of the planet.  Holes to let excess water drain.  Because, you know, I wasn't going to overwater them accidently.  I couldn't possibly lose control of that large watering can in those little tiny cups.

Yeah well, given that this is a lessons learned post, you can probably guess what happened.

That's how some of the first round died.

Oh yes, first round.  Because apparently I hadn't learned my lesson yet.

Then, when I was hardening them off (you have to start setting them out for a little bit longer everyday because otherwise they can get shocked from going from your fairly consistent weather indoors to the unpredictable weather outdoors), I didn't know it was going to rain.  So, I put them out in the morning before work - without checking the weather, mind you.  And then it poured most of the day.

So all but 2 pepper plants, 2 tomatoes, and 1 basil (who died later) drowned or rotted to death.  I think if I hadn't planted one of the tomatoes when I did, it too would have died.


Which explains why I'm a little behind where I'd like to be right now.  I had to direct sow pretty much everything.


I started drilling holes for my fall crop with this little hand-cranked Fiskars drill I have.  I have an electric drill, but I was a little afraid it might be too powerful for the job.

Lesson- you are not above holes in your pots.  If you are stupid like me, feel free to leave them off, but prepare for plant death.

Edit:  This post is an awesome listing of different containers to use to start seedlings indoors and goes through the pros and cons of each, including a bunch currently circulating Pinterest.

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