Gardening Lessons Learned the Hard Way: Seed Starting

Most of my gardening experience has started with either direct planting seeds in the garden, or buying starter plants from a garden center.  Before we moved into our new home, I decided to get a jump start on the upcoming new garden by seed starting a ton of veggies indoors (see original post here).

I laid out all of my seed starting trays on folding tables in our living room where they would stay warm and get nice indirect sunlight.  Everything was going very well at first.  Once the seedlings started to get get a little bit of size, I propped the lids of the seed starting containers open.  They then reached a point where they were too big for that, and were ready to have the lids removed.  Everything went well up until that point.

Once I took the lids off, all bets were off.  We have three very unusual pets who love vegetables.  I think they have grown to love vegetables because they associate them with things that I cook.  I don’t really know why they love vegetables, but I don’t know any other dogs or cats that literally beg for veggies.  One night while we were sleeping, the pets had a veggie party.  When I woke up the next morning, almost everything was munched away.

I tried to salvage what was left of the little seedlings, by relocating them to our second bedroom at that house (which I used as my office).  However, that room did not get much natural light in it at all, and they all started looking droopy.  Our old house was a really tiny craftsman cottage (house tour here), and there weren’t many places I could hide the seedlings from the pets.

Since it was starting to be early Spring, I figured it might be okay to put the surviving seedlings in one of the greenhouses.  Of course, the night that I put them in there, temperatures dropped and it got really cold and rainy while we were sleeping.  When I went out the next morning, even more seedlings had started to die.  I was somehow able to consolidate the few survivors and hide them from the pets until we moved by placing them on a high shelf.

There were just a few seedling varieties that survived all that trauma: the tomatoes, peppers, and a few onions and eggplants.  Their growth looks a little stunted, but I am hoping they will catch up on growth now that they are secure in their new happy homes. 🙂

In the future, I am going to try seed starting again.  Now that we have much more space in our new house, and more rooms to hide things from the pets, I am hoping it will go better.  We are even planning to reuse the ugly florescent light fixtures that were in the kitchen when we moved in as part of a special seed starting station. 🙂

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