Well, I’m taking a break from playing in the tropical rainforest that is Pensacola right now so I can confess my seed killing tendencies to the world. At one time, I considered myself a very talented gardener. As I try newer and more difficult things, I’m finding that I have ever so much more to learn! I guess that’s good , right? Otherwise, life would be unbearably boring.
Last fall, James and his dad took a few days to tear down and reassemble a small greenhouse on our property. It’s a lovely little place: about 15 feet long by 8 feet or so wide. In the winter time, we are able to move all our lovely tropicals into safety and in the summertime, it’s great for drying firewood for the winter. The first winter that we used the greenhouse, it wasn’t sealed very well. Given its age and the haphazard nature of the tear down/re-set up that it went through, we’re just glad it’s sturdy. Come last spring, whenever I wanted to start seeds for new plants, we couldn’t achieve germination because we had no electricity and it was too darn cold for those little seeds to sprout!
Lesson learned: keep the greenhouse warm enough for germination. You can apply this for whatever your situation may be. Something as simple as a heating pad placed under your seed bed (or whatever you’re using to sprout will give great results.
This year, we were able to seal the greenhouse sufficiently well that it stayed fairly toasty year round. James and a friend were able to rig up electricity to the greenhouse and we used a space heater on the really cold nights. Friends, this set up worked great. All the plants stayed healthy and when the time came for seed sprouting, I had no problem at all getting them off to a healthy start.
The rodents. James has a theory that the mice have tunneled into the ground beneath the greenhouse and have little spots inside the greenhouse where they can pop out. This is very sad news for the little seeds. Mice like seeds just as much as gardeners do. Beans, sunflowers, gourds, squash and tomatoes all fell prey to the hungry little critters. I replanted several times, only to have the same results. James finally forbade me to feed the mice any more. Eventually, I came up with a plan to solve this problem. Each night before bed, I covered my flats of seeds with plastic. Every morning, I uncovered the flats and gave them their water for the day. Solved that problem.
Lesson learned: protect delicate seedlings and tasty seeds from hungry pests.
This problem springs directly from the covering and the watering. Folks, I don’t know how to say this other than to just confess: I overwatered my little seeds. What?? It’s true. I rotted them right in their little beds. It was very sad and that’s really all I have to say about that sorry episode in my life.
Lesson learned: only water when dry.
That leads us to right now. About four or five days ago (before the rains started), I noticed several volunteers coming up in a pile of compost I had moved to the back yard. I was struck with what seemed to be a brilliant idea. Actually, I still think it’s a good idea. Maybe I just did it at the wrong time. Since all these little volunteer plants were so thrilled to be sprouting in the compost pile, maybe I should just start all the seeds there! I immediately went to work planting beans, tomatoes, watermelons and marigolds in my impromptu seedling bed. The plan is to let them get a good start in this rich soil and then dig them out for transplanting. Unfortunately for the plan, the spring rains began soon after planting (the very next day, I believe). So, it just remains to be seen what shall become of this seed plan.
Cross your fingers and say a prayer with me that it will work. I heard the seed police are looking to haul me in on multiple counts of herbicide…
Next time on Little Green Bees: the first of reader suggestions. Carla was interested in our garden layout, so I have multiple photos to show you!
After that, be looking for our suggestions for three must have plants in your garden–as requested by Patrick of the Ladore Family