I love starting vegetables for my summer garden from those cute seed packets. Every spring, I purchase envelopes with pretty pictures, consult the Farmer’s Almanac for the last expected hard frost, calculate germination times, and coordinated planting dates with my schedule. This year, I am reworking my landscaping, so, I opted to limit my spring plantings to tomatoes and basil. I have major changes planned in the yard, and I needed to concede to a lack of time and space for a more ambitious undertaking.
The Farmer’s Almanac called for sowing both tomato and basil seeds for indoor germination anytime between March 24th and April 7th in my zone. True to my nature, I pushed the window and delayed setting up my table until the last possible day. Tomatoes typically germinate in 5 to 10 days and basil in 5 to 7 days. But I’m not patient. As soon as I plopped the little darlings into their peat pots, I was looking for signs of life.
So many things can go wrong at this stage. Perhaps the seeds are too old, the soil too wet or too dry, or maybe the temperature dips below optimum levels. I checked my babies almost every hour. Black dirt stared back at me. Turning the tray from side to side, I searched for a hint of green before my logical side kicked in to remind me of the 5-day minimum. I marked my calendar, crossed out each day, and waited. I hate waiting, so I tried to occupy my mind and forced myself to stop watching the clock. Days 5, 6, and 7 passed with no encouraging sightings, and I feared I had overlooked some critical variable.
Yesterday, I looked at them once more before I admitted defeat, chucked the failures, and started over. With a heavy sigh, I lifted the cover, expecting to find sad brown mud. Instead, I discovered tiny flecks of green sprinkled across the dark, moist surface. I think I squealed and giggled, and I might have clapped my hands. Flipping on the grow light, I spoke to my new plants. They say they thrive when they know they are loved.
What are you planting in your garden?
Keep on writing.
Jo Hawk The Writer