February 1, 2006

Seeds or Seedlings?

or seeds
  1. A ripened plant ovule containing an embryo.
  2. The seed-bearing stage of a plant.
  3. A source or beginning; a germ.
A young plant that is grown from a seed.

It is now February which is a good time to start planning your garden. I'm a little overwhelmed by the idea of plotting things out. I need to know 1)what I want to grow 2) the estimated height of things 3) when they get big and how much space they need and 4) how I want the garden to look but...that's a lot of stuff. Last summer I did pretty well without a ton of planning although I think I had too many yellow and orange flowers and I probably didn't use the space as well as I could have. There are simply some decisions one needs to make in advance. Plus, I had a lot of "plot envy" when I walked around my community garden and saw some of the things people did. Although, I did get compliments on my plot too, I want to improve on what I did last year. Stagnation is not an option.

I tried to set myself up for this year by keeping the little plastic tags from last year's plants so I can remember what worked and what didn't. I need to figure out if I'm going to try to grow seedlings indoors this year. Another option is to buy seedlings that have been grown by professionals or at a cool women's shelter that is also an urban farm. The deadline for ordering from the women's shelter is February 11th!

Last year I got plants for just about everything except for a few herbs, greens and flowers which I sowed directly in the garden in April. My biggest success was with California Poppies which, of course, are NOT native to my area which makes me a bad bad gardener but, I love them and they were easy to grow. I promise to try to think more about native plants this year.

I believe the pros and cons of growing seedlings myself are as follows:

1) Starting seeds indoors means starting gardening early and since I like to do it, early is good.
2) I will feel more accomplished if I grow something from its very beginning stages as a teeny tiny seed all the way to its grown-up stage as a flower, fruit or whatever its supposed to be. It also seems like what "real" gardeners do so...it just seems right.
3) Seeds are less expensive than plants so it makes the whole endeavor cheaper -- especially if I plan to buy crap like real gardening shears.

1) I might fail and end up buying plants anyway which will be depressing and NOT less expensive. Also, there is a chance my plants just won't do as well because of my amateur ways and I won't find out until its too late to buy something grown by people with more experience.
2) I am not sure I have a perfect place in my apartment for this in terms of light and I am not sure that I can prevent my cats from taking a curious nibble while I am away.
3) I get the impression that its a lot of transferring things to bigger containers along the way which could make a big mess and I'd have to get all the containers. When its all in the garden the mess tends to be concentrated out there.

Luckily I have at least 11 days to decide!

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