Hardening my heart.

– Posted in: Seeds and Seed Starting
2 comments

I read the bookish gardeners article about seed starting with chagrin. My own seed starting practices have deteriorated over the years. Every seed gets sown in the same conditions, at the same time, somewhere around 6-8 weeks (if I’m running late, I change my last frost date so I am not behind). Apparently, conditions were a little cool, because the peppers and eggplant seeds were not budging. I tried sticking them in the oven, but was too scared that someone try to bake a pizza without checking first. Then, I tried sticking them on the dryer and running it empty for an hour at a time. This, of course, was done when my husband was not around. Seed starting time can be a stressful time in our house. Apparently, he thinks laundry rooms are for doing laundry. I have two lights there, and two in the basement. Unfortunately, we remodeled our kitchen and eliminated the stairs to the basement. Now, there is a trap door and a rickety makeshift ladder, perfect for households with small children.

So, when I saw the ten day forecast had frost free nights in the forties until May 15th, I decided to go for it. My husband was out of town!!, so I brought my potting mix down to the kitchen table and pricked, pricked, pricked those seedlings and potted them up, and out the door they went, into a little shady corner for some more abuse and neglect. I can’t not give each and every seedling a home, so I can only hope that a few don’t make it to maturity. Snapdragrons, anyone?

About the Author

Until recently, Rosemarie Hanson gardened in the alkaline soil of New York’s North Country. Now she gardens in the Finger Lakes region of NY, where the soil is acid and the deer are a plague! She is particularly interested in fragrant plants, old garden roses, tulips, gardening for kids, and kitchen gardens.

Autumn is a second spring when every leaf is a flower.

~Albert Camus in Albert Camus quotations

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Judy Miller May 9, 2005, 8:34 pm

Three other warm places are water heater, refrigerator and tv (if you have an always-on variety). The water heater might be secret enough for your purposes. . .

And a seedling heating mat might be a stress-relieving addition to the household. There are some fairly cheap ones out there which will go anywhere you’re plugging in the lights. The soil needs to be warm but the air, not so much, so seedling mats are quite good.

Chan S. May 8, 2005, 9:45 pm

Did someone say chagrin? As it turns out, I will need to “push out” my last frost date too, since I just discovered an extra packet of eggplant seeds in my, uh, office (don’t ask). They’re early maturing and all, but their brethren are six weeks ahead of them. As the seed-sowing season has progressed, I have fallen steadily behind, which is bad, but the longer I wait the better (I tell myself), since I have run out of lighted shelves and need warmer weather to be able to move out some of the earlier trays to make room for new ones. Cheers! (Or “Help!”)