Growing From Seed
One of my favorite things about gardening is being a witness to life unfolding right in front of my eyes. course this is a lot less consequential than growing humans, but it can be a micro scale experiment in similar nature and of similar emotional reward. As an architect I tend to also feel this way about some of my projects, so perhaps this goes into saying that anything you put your heart into and watch come to life, from a seedling, to a business to an actual human is an opportunity not to just be a witness, but to grow and learn from the experience in ways that are sometimes well beyond our initial imagination.
In the past I have sowed seeds straight into the ground, some with success and others not so much, and bought most of my seedlings from our local garden center. It seemed an economical practice given time and space that I was working with. I didn’t think I needed 30 tomato or basil plants, and really I couldn’t fit them in my garden even if I tried. But something occurred to me this year. I LOVE growing things and what if I grew more than what I personally needed and shared them with my neighborhood. It will be an opportunity to teach Luci about some plant basics and it would be such a fun way to connect with my local community and give back. So here comes the blog post of what I have learned so far.
What containers to grow in:
Seedling Flats, Peat Pots, egg cartons, or even newspaper wraps are all good options to start. Personally I went with Peat Pots this year. They are not reusable, but you can place them straight into the ground and they will decompose and just add the Peat to your soil.
What soil to use:
You want to use seed starter soil. This is different from the potting soil mix because it is low in nutrients, which helps the plants develop a healthier, longer root system to sustain them in the future.
When to start seeds:
It is recommended to start seeds 6 weeks before your regions last frost date. I tend to procrastinate and I got mine started later than this. But unless you have a super short growing season, this shouldn’t be a deal breaker.
Try to water your plants from the bottom, keeping them moist, but never soaking wet or completely dry. I had a bit of mold one of my trays, which is usually a sign of overwatering, so just pay attention.
Once the seedlings take root and you start to get little growth you want to make sure these babies get enough space to grow, it's good practice to thin them out and just leave one in a pod to mature further. You can always replant the extras instead of throwing away.
It is also considered good practice to weather your little seedlings before taking them outside and transplanting them for good. this involves gradual daily exposure to the outdoors to let them get used to warm days and cooler night and make them more resilient.
If you've made this this far and have some babies to spare, share them! If you didn't get any little babies or not many made it through, that's ok too. I can't tell you how many plants have gone by my hand, but i will tell you that not giving up and always trying is most certainly a journey worth taking!