When it seemed like the coronavirus was really going to hit us badly and stretch into spring and maybe even summer, I figured I’d need to get into “homesteading” mode. I always do a vegetable garden, but I usually buy plants instead of starting from seed. Will there be plants to buy this year? Who knows? Let’s get seedy!
I collected all the seed packets from around the house. Some were in the garage. Some were in the laundry room cupboard. A few were in the basement. Yet more were tucked in the drawer where we keep the dog’s things (brushes, harnesses, heartworm meds etc.).
Altogether, it was a motley collection:
Lots of lettuces. Lots of peas. Lots of beets. A few tomatoes, cukes, herbs and other goodies.
“Not bad!” I thought. I found some seed starter plastic thingies to start the seeds indoors and got started planting. Then I noticed something:
How long are seeds good for? Centuries, under the right conditions, I imagine. I mean, there are seed banks that store seeds in case of an apocalypse, right? I figured I’d draw the line at 10 years – anything older probably would not be worth planting.
Next I ordered some seeds I didn’t have – tomatoes, squashes and peppers. When those arrived (and it took a while) I popped them all into some seed starter soil and set them to incubate on the radiator.
I despaired that they didn’t seem to be doing anything. Each day I’d water as needed and scrutinize the soil for signs of life. Then one day:
You can’t imagine how happy I was to see these tiny specks of green.
Shortly after they all started coming. Once the seeds sprout I put them in a sunny window during the day to catch the light and warmth, rotating the tray so the plants don’t stretch too much in any one direction.
It’s fun to watch the cucumbers especially (they’re the biggest of the lot in the picture above). They really move to capture the most light as the earth rotates around the sun.
From all the old seeds I had two duds – spinach and basil. I’ll have to see if I can get some fresh seeds the next time I brave the grocery store.
Outside, I started the peas. My neighbor, who has the greenest thumb I ever saw, insists that peas are planted on St. Patrick’s Day. I didn’t quite do it that early, but I still got them in the ground on the first warm day.
They still have not sprouted. I don’t know if they’re duds or if it hasn’t been warm enough (I strongly suspect the latter). I want to brave a peek at my neighbor’s garden to see if she’s had more success, but I am too chicken. I will try with another packet if I don’t see action soon. I also will start the lettuces and squash directly outside once the last danger of frost has passed, whenever that is.