Debbie, Debbie Quite Contrary

How does your garden grow?

With flowers and herbs and peppers

And many varieties of tomato.


That’s not all we will be planting this year, but that is what we have started so far.

We also had to put our seedling stand elsewhere in the house.  Year 1 we tried it in the basement.  It was a wonderful learning experience and we learned that we won’t try to start seedlings in the basement again.  Last year we put the seedlings in  front of our slider which is on the west side of the house.  They did awesome!!!  This year it is in our bedroom by a south facing window.  While I would rather have them by the slider again, they would be exposed to a dangerous condition in our home known as FS2 🙂  He is full of curiosity and I’m quite sure many of the seedlings would meet their untimely death as my little guy enjoyed playing in the dirt.  So this year they will take up residence in our bedroom and I think they’ll do just fine there.

It’s always exciting to begin the gardening season and the girls love helping.  All the small pots are flowers and herbs Lili and Naomi planted.  Next weekend we’ll get more started as I really want to stagger the planting this year so we don’t have everything producing at once.

I tried my hand at some root vegetables this fall, but planted them too late in the year.  I’m going to try putting a few out in early spring to see if I have any luck, so we’re only a few short weeks away from putting seeds in the ground outside.

Hubby also bought a package of Ethiopian brown pepper seeds.  This is a pepper variety we’ve never grown before and he is excited to try something new.

Fingers crossed that we have a little less rain and a little more heat this year.  Last year just wasn’t great for our tomatoes and I want to good crop for canning.  Plus, we want to take some good garden produce on our camping trips this year.  Nothing like a grilled hamburger with a fresh garden tomato 🙂






Last year, hubby and I decided to try our hand at starting our own seedlings.  Hubby built a seedling shelf from PVC pipe, hung lights and we were ready to grow something.

We carefully planted all our seeds, placed them under the lights, watered them and waited.  Watered them some more and waited.  Watered them some more and waited.  Eventually, about half of the seeds we planted began to emerge from their earthy cocoon in the form of little green seedlings.  I continued to water and watch as they grew a little taller each day, with hope that other seedlings would begin to grow.  Sadly, no more seedlings and even sadder still, all but one of the little seedlings began to fall and die.  When it came time to plant, only one small tomato plant had survived.

It was seedling failure to survive and I chalked it up to being in the basement with not enough warmth and not enough water for the conditions.  Next year I would do things differently.

And I have done things differently this year.  Hubby helped me move the seedling shelves to the dining room and they have been placed by our south-facing sliding glass door.  I started them earlier, so if there was a need to start over, there would be time.  I have heat mats under them, providing them warmth.  I check on them a few times a day making sure the soil is moist and not dried out.  Each morning the lights are turned on and turned off again each night.

As a result, almost all of the seedlings have emerged, most looking strong and sturdy.  A few have fallen over and died, but so far I’ve had a much more successful year than last.

It’s still early.  I’ve replanted some seeds that didn’t sprout, which has proven to be more successful.  Some I’m still having trouble getting started, but there is time to keep trying before moving them outdoors and eventually into the garden.

If all continue to grow and flourish, we’ll have a lot more than we have room to plant, but that’s okay.  I’m just happy to see my little green friends doing so well and am keeping fingers crossed that all will soon be growing and producing fine vegetables in my garden this year.

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There is Snow on the Ground

But it’s spring in our house.

I ordered and received our seeds a few weeks ago and we were ready to get our seedlings started.  Lili, hubby and I carefully planted tomato, tomatillo and pepper seeds in their little pots and under the lights they went.


Last year was our first attempt at starting our own seedlings and it wasn’t very successful.  About 1/2 of the seeds germinated and began growing, but then died.  It think it was a combination of a lot of different things.

– I made my own soil mixture, which I don’t think had the proper balance of nutrients.

– We had them in the basement where the temperature is probably 10-15 degrees cooler.   The soil temperature just didn’t get warm enough for many of them to germinate.

– I think I also over-watered many of them, which isn’t a good thing and many that did germinate I lost to damping off.

So this year changes were made and I’m trying some new techniques hoping for more success.

– No homemade seedling mix this year.  I bought the mix this year.

– The seedling stand has been moved to the dining room.  I had originally planned to keep it in the basement to protect them from kids and dogs, but had second thoughts.  The dogs are blocked from the dining room and it will be a good learning experience for the girls as they are able to more carefully watch the process.

– I am using seedling heat mats, which I knew would be necessary in the basement.  Since we keep our thermostat set low, I thought the heat mats would still come in handy.

– I’m going to be more careful about watering and will keep a fan running to keep air circulating.

Having everything on the main level of the house is much more convenient and I’m less likely to forget things like turning the lights off at night.

There are many more things I would like to try growing this year, with only a handful needing to be started indoors.  However, to grow it all would require that we expand our garden space and that just doesn’t make sense for us right now.  Instead, I’ll stick with those things I know we must have in the garden and experiment with some vegetables I’ve never tried growing before.  With lots of hope for a good harvest and a guarantee that I’ll be learning a lot along the way, I look forward to a new gardening season.

There are no gardening mistakes, only experiments.
Janet Kilburn Phillips