I’m happy to report that my garden is coming along and slowly convincing me that I do not in fact kill plants just by touching them. Woohoo! There have already been some sprout-sized ups and downs, but I guess there’s no fun in guaranteed success.
I started a number of seeds last month and set them on a cozy heating pad, and while some lettuce sprung forth and quickly suffered “damping off”—that means they keeled over and died—everything else stubbornly refused to sprout for what felt like ages. Meanwhile, I decided to hedge my bet by planting a second round of seeds, which have fared much, much better. I’ll attribute their success to my buying special seed starting potting mix for them and the clear plastic lid I put over the freshly planted pots.
Here’s the roster of what’s coming up: more lettuce than I could ever need, so they’ve been thinned quite a bit; four strawberries,
three of which are still standing; four green beans (they’re the big kids in the yard); five basil sprouts; a whole bunch of carrots I’m nervous to transplant; two rosemary; four tomatoes, two or three of which will need to be thinned (the heartache!); and about a dozen teeny, tiny oregano sprouts. I’m giving my bell pepper seeds another week or two before I give up and decide to buy established plants.
Now none of these little guys is out of the woods yet. The dreaded “damping off” could still take them, but I looked around online and decided to sprinkle cinnamon over the new soil. Weird, yes, but it’s apparently a natural antifungal, and fungus is what causes damping off. So, it’s worth a try; plus, I had some in the cupboard already. My arsenal of gardening-specific products is pretty much nonexistent. And I’m watering everything that’s sprouted by setting them in a pan of water, because that’s supposed to help too. I guess a wet plant is a vulnerable plant. I’m learning…
With the sunshine lately, I’ve been able to put the little sprouts outside, which I think has made them look a little greener and happier. I’m keeping my fingers crossed and would probably play Mozart to them if I thought it would give them a better chance of becoming producing plants. I’d be lying if I said these plants weren’t getting an occasional pep talk too. I really want them to live.
Up next, though, is the fun part for me. I get to find containers to put everything in! I found a big red metal bucket at Goodwill for $4 recently that I’m excited about. I’ll definitely need one or two more good-sized containers for what I’m hoping to have. Then I’ll need to invest in an array of soil, sand and rocks. And I need to find someone in Portland who sells worm castings in small quantities. I hear they’re like magic, and if I’m going to get much of anything out of this garden, I still need all the help I can get.