Starting from seed

Sarah may be in Illinois, but her mind is in the same place mine is–the vegetable garden. However, Sarah’s doing something that I’ve never tried before–starting her own plants from seed. She’s sharing the lessons she’s learned and the progress she’s made so far.

Every year Steve and his parents have grown a very large garden. And when I came along six years ago, I jumped right in to help and have become more and more interested every year.

I had always planted a few tomato and pepper plants before, but until I started helping at Steve’s I had never seen broccoli, or cabbage or brussel sprouts growing in a garden.

For several seasons I have tried to start plants from seed. And that usually starts off great and then fails miserably.

Steve likes to say that I have a “brown thumb” but that isn’t really true.

I just am terrible at hardening off the starts. I am impatient, and I am forgetful! So I push plants to be ready when they are not, and I forget to water them or forget to bring them in during the hardening phase.

This year I am going to use my “word for the year” that I mentioned around New Year’s and I am going to FOCUS on the hardening off process.

Starting plants from seed

This weekend I started my first seeds. I looked up online when the last predicted frost for my area will be and it said April 18. So I thought this was the perfect time to start some kale and lettuce.

Now I am going to make note here for the future that Steve says his farming sources predict a late frost for us and that we could get a frost up until May 5. That is a huge difference and I am really curious which source will be more accurate.

Over the next week or two, I plan to also start tomatoes and pepper plants from seed.

I found some plants on sale and used a black marker to label them. I was sure to not only write the variety of the plant but on the back I also wrote the brand of the seed. That way I can make notes of which seeds worked best and then I will have reference of where to buy my seeds in the future.

My mom and I had placed a small order for seeds and plants and those arrived last week. So besides the kale and lettuce seeds, I also had to do something with the strawberry and asparagus starts that I had ordered. Since I do not have my raised beds ready yet, I just stuck them in a bucket and pot temporarily. But now making those raised beds needs to be a priority.

Strawberry and asparagus starts in a bucket

While I was digging through my gardening supplies I found a grocery bag with daffodil bulbs from last fall. So when I say I am forgetful, I am not exaggerating.

Daffodil bulbs

I stuck them in the ground since they were still alive, and I reminded myself that “FOCUS” has to remain my theme!

Next post I will update with the progress of my seeds.

Do you have a green thumb or a brown thumb? Do you have any helpful hints for the hardening off process? Do you have trouble staying focused?

Good luck, Sarah. Funnily enough, plants are one area where I get impatient or forgetful too. I hope you find your focus this year. I’m looking forward to following your progress–and seeing who’s right about the last frost.

5 thoughts on “Starting from seed

  1. The bucket and pot ideas for temporarily planting are genius! (This is her Mother writing, so how else would I see my daughter than as a genius?) I am hoping to get my strawberry plants in a tiered raised bed this weekend. But I will need to build it first. I would like to plant by the phases of the moon, but the good times to plant would have to coincide with times that I am not at work. Putting seeds and/or plants in the ground is very complicated!

  2. My mom called me “genius” ?!??! Wow! Mom, I should have mentioned in my post that you are so aware of my forgetfulness that you will not give me a plant until I have a hole in the ground, because you know I will forget to plant it!

  3. You actually sound pretty organized to me! Sharon is the one who’s the gardener around here, and her health is not letting her do most of it. I like to plan where to put things, pin things on garden boards and imagine myself starting seeds in eggshells and growing potatoes in hay bales etc, but reality falls far, far short!

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