We are quickly approaching garden season here. Although looking at the lingering snow on the ground, feeling the sting of the cold winds and watching the sky as more snow begins to make its way here, one would find it difficult to believe that any gardening will be happening soon. Yet, it’s almost time for me to get my seedlings started.
Last year was my first attempt at starting my own seedlings. When I gardened so many years ago, I would go to the nursery to purchase my plants and seeds. So when hubby and I decided to re-establish our garden last year, we really wanted to try our hand at gardening from beginning to end. So we got our seeds, carefully planted them in little containers of light, airy soil. I placed all the containers under fluorescent lighting, gave them regular drinks of water and waited.
Eventually, little green sprouts began to emerge from the soil. Excitement and a sense of accomplishment washed over me. Then one-by-one, my seedlings began to die 😦 Only one tomato plant survived and went on to provide us lots of wonderful tasty fruit.
Once again, we were at the nursery picking up vegetable plants for our garden. My first attempt at gardening from beginning to end didn’t work out the way I had hoped.
Some may have considered this a failure, but gardeners are in constant learning mode and this was indeed a learning experience. Now I prepare to enter the 2014 gardening season with more knowledge and a chance to try again. That isn’t failure at all.
I could only surmise my seedlings didn’t survive because of their environment. Hubby built me a nice seedling shelf with fluorescent lighting, but couldn’t have been the problem. We put the shelf in the basement where it was safe from kids and dogs, so that couldn’t have been the problem. However, the temperature in the basement was not conducive to the survival of the seedlings. They need warmth and even though I put plastic covers over the top of them, they just didn’t have the warmth they needed. Lack of adequate heat!!! Problem solved!!!
This year, I want to give my seedlings every chance for survival. So a couple of days ago I spent the majority of my morning shopping. Warming mats and seeds were on the list and after careful consideration I had made my purchases – tomatoes, peppers, carrots, onions, rutabaga, parsnips, turnips, cabbage, spinach, peas, kale, beets, broccoli, beans, watermelon, an assortment of herbs, marigolds and warming mats.
In a few weeks many of these seeds will be planted and placed in their temporary home in the basement. They will have warm light from the top, warming mats on the bottom and regular watering. I will approach it all with lots of hope that some days later I’ll see little green sprouts emerge thru the soil with continuing hope that they will grow tall and strong for spring planting.
My second attempt at starting my own seedlings and my first attempt at growing many of these vegetables and herbs. A year of learning experiences behind me and a year of learning experiences ahead. Soon, I’ll have everything I need for the 2014 World of Weeks Garden!
Oh. Well, there goes my idea of starting seeds downstairs out of paws harm. So, upstairs they will go!
My seeds will stay downstairs safe from being knocked over by children and/or dogs. I am hopeful that the warming mats will provide them the warmth they need.
There is also something called “damping off” that gets my starts. They get tall and leggy fall over and die. And, the nutrients in the potting soil are only sufficient for so long. If they don’t get some kind of fertilizer after that point, they fizzle and die. Google this subject, and maybe you can find the answers. I only know the problems, not the answers. I never have had much luck with starting my own, but I intend to learn how. Same reasons you are trying to….
April in AK
I found this article on how to prevent damping off http://www.ehow.com/how_9361_prevent-damping-seedlings.html. I will be adding a fan to the mix this year as well. I think it will be especially important in the basement.