Plant No Seed Before It's Time

Every year I vow to do things better and differently. I learn something new each season, and the weather patterns teach me about my microclimate. Around the time I acquire the seed I will need for my veggie garden, I start getting antsy. I usually order seeds in February and they are here shortly. I get down my indoor green house and assemble it. I acquire planting soil, make plant tags, and pull out my seed starting flats and other containers. Then I wait. Or do I?

I am notorious for starting my seed too early. I just cannot stand to wait until it is the appropriate time to start seeds. I am just itching to see little green shoots, my mouth is watering with thoughts of the tasty goodies I will be making, and my head is filled with visions of lush, verdant leaves and brightly colored fruits. After a long winter, who can blame me? Most of my harvest from last season has been used up, and I am dying for a freshly grown salad. The heavier foods of winter have lost their appeal as sunnier days appear and temperatures are warming a bit.

A Long-Term Dilemma

How long have I had this problem? As long as I have been gardening – so, decades. Have I learned anything? Apparently not. Years past have seen me with flats filled with leggy veggie starts by April. In my zone we can't plant outside until Mother's day in May. My indoor seedlings invariably need to be replanted because they fail to thrive. I should read the seed packets for the best time to plant seeds, but I never consult a calendar. Instead, I deem it appropriate to plant when I feel like it. And I am wrong.

A New Leaf

This next year I swear I'm not starting vegetables until the packet tells me it is time. Really. 2023 seems like a good year to do things properly. Really. I'm going to do something new next year. I'm going to learn from my mistakes. I will have nicely formed seedlings just in time for Mother's day. I will have plants that don't flop over, damp off, or fail to grow. Really. I have finally figured out how to use the calendar on my phone, so I have set the dates that are appropriate for each type of food. I think this will help, although I know that February will rear its head and I will get that urge. Can I ignore the urge?

Giving in Just a Bit

I do have one consolation. Tomatoes and peppers need to be started early. They will get bigger and can be transplanted to larger containers to continue growing before I can put them outside. Another good thing are the spring vegetables. If I am really itching to plant, I can grow some spinach, snow peas, or other cool season vegetables. I can start some fresh herbs that will do well in a sunny window. But I must avoid planting melons, squash, corn, and other veggies until it is the right time. History must not repeat itself.

I deem it a failure to my gardening skills to purchase pre-grown seedlings. I have seed, soil, and the necessary items to grow my own food. But I must admit, I have had to purchase a few things every year because the plants that I grew didn't grow well. Since I am cheap by nature, one would think this would encourage me to plant properly. I'm going to use the calendar dates and appeal to my thrifty nature, excoriating myself to just wait and do things properly.

Fingers crossed that I can be patient. Fingers crossed that I will be sensible. There is always a first time for everything.

Bonnie Grant