Tomato and pepper seedlings in their spacious new digs
"I made a rookie mistake last year —- I started from seed," a friend quipped as I asked about her square-foot gardening experience. Oops! That's what I opted to do this year, also my first at-home gardening project. This came as I was growing impatient with my seedlings that I had been nursing along in egg cartons for weeks:
Finally, though, the tomato, pepper, cabbage, and basil seedlings grew their first "true leaves" and were ready to graduate up from their little egg cartons to larger pots. I had been gathering yogurt containers and other similarly-sized containers for just this purpose, careful to wash them well and poke holes in the bottoms for drainage. When the day came, I filled the seedlings' new homes with the same mix as from the garden and delicately transferred the little plants (following the advice to handle the leaves, not the stems).
Basil went directly into larger containers where they'll remain on the outskirts of the garden, as shown in this plan.
As for the other plants, the lemon squash was sowed directly outdoors in its own pot and has been growing nicely, as have the zucchini, peas, and nasturtiums. I'm a little surprised at how slowly the lettuces and chard are going (they are just barely sprouting as of this writing). Beets have sprouted and carrots will take some more time, it seems.
My big disappointment have been the Tokyo onions I started from seed; their growth was very spindly and I'm afraid won't survive their recent transplant to the garden. At the urging of several advisors, I am considering abandoning ship and planting onion sets. The most frustrating thing is that my lawn is dotted with wild onions growing happily (and abundantly) while my carefully-tended, nutrient-rich garden has only produced sad-looking onion seedlings.
As we wrap up the month, I plan to share occasional updates with you on the garden's progress but likely won't be checking in every week. I am sure when the trellises are built they will warrant an update, then a midsummer check-in to show you the (hopefully) abundant fruits of my labor.
My big question as we head into summer is whether I should have relied less on seed and more on plants for this first year of gardening. Only time will tell, but I'd love to hear of your gardening experiences when starting from seed!
(Image credits: Regina Yunghans)