Saturday, June 21, 2014

First try at gardening: seedlings

Planting parsley and oregano
Adding soil for seeds

This was my first time trying to garden.  The real motivation for doing this was to give my son something to watch grow over the summer. Which means we start in winter/spring. Since I did not care too much about how successful this was, we started from seeds.

First sprout of a marigold
First seedlings
Lesson 1: Using egg shells really does not gives seeds much room to start.

I started seeds in egg shells.  First mistake was not filling them to the top with soil.  In hindsight, the soil in the egg shells gives the seeds room for roots and also protects the seeds from shock.  About 2-3 weeks into it, just as the first seeds started germinating, they got moved outside to be shocked in preparation for transplant, which pretty much killed my entire first batch of seeds :-(

When I finally got some ready for transplant, the problem was that the roots did not have much room to grow in the shell, so I was essentially transplanting a bare plant and roots.  So I probably lost a pretty large portion of these.  One thing that worked better was transplant into a small container that had a few inches of depth, then plant them.  One other thing I would do next time is to put 2-3 seeds per shell, under the understanding that 1 will survive the transplant process.  More than that gets crowded.

Lesson 2: if using egg cartons (or anything else that gets transplanted into the new container, punch holes in the bottom and sides to give water and roots room to a way to get out of the container.

When things got transplanted to small containers (mason jars or something else) they started to grow fast. In particular, the mason jars that I transplanted into (usually 3 egg shells each) quickly got overcrowded, and I ended up pulling out about half of them to transplant outside.

The main destination for these various herbs (basil, parsley, oregano, rosemary and marigolds for variety) was to go in a container garden in the backyard. My containers were built around a tomato, some pepper, and a strawberry plant. Each got an assortment of seedlings that were grown from eggshells.  So at this point, they are all established.  The ones with the tomato are suffering because the tomato is growing very well (and sucking up water and light).  I probably have the pepper container a little crowded (I've been pulling oregano out to make more room.)  And there are a few things that I've been planting in our unused front, just to see how they survive.  And there are a few herbs that we are growing inside, just so they are easier to look at (and we are starting to harvest from these)

Tomato and peppers in containers.  Peppers are newly staked using bamboo.
Tomato and pepper containers

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