Seedling Census

– Posted in: Garden chores, What's up/blooming
2 comments

Well, today I watered all my little babies. With some plants, you feel like you should be nominated for “Gardener of the Year” for how beautifully they’re doing. With other plants, you are just grateful that there is no Society Against Cruelty to Plants, because otherwise you’d have black helicopters circling the house! That is certainly the case for me right now. I have some seedlings that have been potted on regularly, have plenty of room, and are doing simply spectacular. I have other flats of seedlings that are so crowded and miserable looking, it makes me feel guilty just to be around them.

Anyway, as I bottom-watered my flats of seedlings, I also counted them. I have, roughly:

140 assorted Zinnias

76 basil plants (I think they’re all Geneva or Genovese)

68 portulaca (48 red, from seeds a neighbor collected for me, 20 other assorted)

48 broccoli plants

5 four o’clock plants

57 marigolds (Whoa! I wonder how I counted 80 before? Maybe I called some cosmos marigolds by accident.)

63 balsam plants (Oooh, I feel guilty looking at these poor guys. It got down to 34 one night and I forgot to bring them in. I hope they’ll recover once they get in the ground.)

19 tomatoes (11 short vine, 8 large vine)

59 cosmos (I got a lot of this seed from the AHS.)

264 Nicotiana (Eek! That was more than I ever intended, but the seed is so small!) 91 are Crimson King (though they don’t always bloom crimson, which is disappointment), 38 are Sylvestris, and 135 are Alata.

24 Texas Sage.

For a grand total of 823 seedlings waiting to be planted in the ground! I’m going to try to plant the broccoli tonight, but everything else will have to wait till the 7th of June or later. And that number isn’t counting the snapdragons, clarkia, stocks, bachelor’s buttons, larkspur and parsley I’ve already planted. Or the 2 pounds of peas. Or the lettuce, spinach or swiss chard. Or the 15 pounds of potatoes waiting to be planted.

Mom keeps lecturing me on the prudence of getting rid of seedlings. “Just because they all sprout, doesn’t mean you have to keep them all, you know!” But I just can’t bear to. How can you get rid of seedlings when they’re still so small and delicate and need your protection the most? Anyway, the moral I get from this is–always test your seed first, so you know how much will sprout. Just because it’s 4 years old doesn’t mean it won’t perform like a spring chicken.

Mom says, “You’re your father’s girl; every time I started throwing seedlings in the compost bucket, he always fishes them out and sticks them in the ground, just to see if they’ll grow.” Of course! You have to at least give them a chance at life, once you made them sprout! Mom doesn’t get it. But then, Mom doesn’t have over 800 seedlings sitting in the front lawn, either. But if everything does well–heck, if most things do well!–it will definitely be worth it.

About the Author

Talitha spent the last few years doing an absurd combination of work and school, and found it wasn’t very pleasant. Now she’s doing work, school and a garden, and life is a little better! She also enjoys photography and hand feeding her ducks. USDA Hardiness Zone: 4 AHS Heat Zone: 3 Location: rural; Southern Tier of NY Geographic type: foothills of Appalachian Mountains Soil Type: acid clay Experience level: advanced beginner Particular interests: herbs, vegetables, cutting garden, cottage gardening

In the end, this may be the most important thing about frost: Frost slows us down. In spring, it tempers our eagerness. In fall, it brings closure and rest. In our gotta-go world–where every nanosecond seems to count–slowness can be a great gift. So rather than see Jack Frost as an adversary, you could choose to greet him as a friend.

~Philip Harnden in A Gardener’s Guide to Frost: Outwit the Weather and Extend the Spring and Fall Seasons

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Talitha June 10, 2003, 4:29 pm

Well, you’re doing better than I would! If I had to move plants according to where the sun was, I would probably have to add to my list of crimes “Deprives plants of needed sunlight,” because somehow I just don’t see it happening. It seems like it’s all I can do just to keep things from wilting, much less remembering to bring things in or out. It’s nice to know, though, that I’m not alone in keeping on un-needed seedlings. Nearly everytime I tell a gardener that I can’t get rid of seedlings they say “Oh yeah, that’s a lesson I had to learn years ago!!” Learn? I haven’t learned anything! I just have a lot of seedlings!

Rumblefish June 10, 2003, 12:17 am

I can’t part with my seedlings either. I’ve got pots everywhere the sun will hit them. A few i have to move depending on the time of day.