Gardening Is Like A Slow Dance

When you decide to become a gardener, you have questions, and lots of them. What do I plant? What do I plant them in? How do I plant them? Do I start my own seeds or do I just purchase my plants? These are all good questions, which might leave you wondering where to begin.

We were once there years ago too. We got encouraged to start our own garden from gazing at our neighbors garden. He has a green thumb. We asked him tons of questions. (thanks farmer Steve!) I remember that first year we wanted to plant something, just to try it out and we purchased a couple cherry tomato plants from a local nursery. We planted them in large flower pots and when we saw how well they grew in just a pot, we were hooked and wanted our own garden! That’s when we decided to build our own raised garden beds in the backyard! We have never looked back and every year we get so darn excited about gardening every year.

Now, a few years of gardening under our belt, we feel that we can start and maintain a garden with confidence.

Gardening to me, is like a slow dance. You gather your seeds, soil, and plant trays, then stare at the soil for days until you see a little something “green” poking its way out of the soil! Success! You have officially germinated a seed and you are on your way!

GARDENING: STEP ONE
CREATE CUTE PLANT LABELS

When you become a gardener, you definitely learn from your mistakes. For example, last year I made some cardstock plant labels and taped them to a toothpick. I placed these labels in each seed section to identify what was planted in there. What I learned from this, is that the condensation that happens under the lid, those cardstock labels got destroyed and fell apart. That’s where the “learn” from gardening mistakes come in.

PLANT MARKERS

This year, I made some cute plant labels on cardstock, but I laminated them first! Now I’m on the right track! I got those cute labels all cut out and taped them to the toothpicks again and now know that through watering and the condensation, those labels will hold up until we take the plants out to the garden.I am happy.

PLANT MARKERS2

GARDENING: STEP TWO
CHOOSING THE RIGHT STARTING SOIL

Choosing the right seed starting soil is important. I remember a few years ago we got some cheap crap soil at Marcs (will never do that again) and the soil was like a bag of fluff. Yes, I said fluff, because the soil was horrible and we lost all the seeds that we had planted. Nothing grew in this cheap soil.

STARTING SEEDS

We changed our starting soil to either a Burpee seed starting soil, or a nice organic soil and have had much success with both of these. It’s better to spend a few dollars more on your soil than waste seeds.

Once you have the correct seed starting soil, you are ready to start your seeds. This part is fun, but a little tricky because most of the seeds that you will probably be starting are very tiny in size. I had to use a pair of tweezers just to grab the seeds out of the bag. For example, the Flat Dutch Cabbage seeds are the size of a period at the end of a sentence.

GARDENING: STEP THREE
PLANTING YOUR SEEDS

For a first time gardener, I would suggest you read the planting instructions on all of your seed packs before you attempt to plant your seeds. The depth of your seeds is important.

ROMAINE

We start our seeds in the 72 cell seed starting trays. Each kit comes with a bottom (to catch & hold water), the 72 cell tray (8 sections for 9 plants each), and a clear lid (for the grow light to shine through). I normally use the sections to plant the same seeds, and always plant a few seeds extra, just in case one seed does not germinate!

ZUCCHINI

You take your good seed starting soil, NOT potting soil, as there is a difference. Potting soil is for house plants, not for starting seeds. Fill up each seed cell with your soil, and very lightly pack it in, but not too much, then take a toothpick and poke a small hole in the center of each seed cell, this is where you are going to plant that seed! (now remember, I told you first time gardeners to read the seed packet first, because some seeds just lay on top of the soil, where others have to be planted at a certain depth)

Once you drop your seeds into the soil, lightly cover them up with a dusting of soil. Lightly water the entire seed cell tray, and put the clear lid on.

GARDENING: STEP FOUR
GROW LIGHTS & KEEPING YOUR PLANTS WARM

Other than choosing the right seed starting soil, keeping your seeds under a grow light is important. We hung our grow lights off the beams in the ceiling in our basement. The lights hang from a chain and we use little metal “S” hooks on the chain, as this is used when we change the height of the grow lights.

SEED STARTER

Since our seeds were just started, we keep the grow lights a few inches above the closed lid on our seed cells, as this keeps the seeds warm and with the moisture in the soil from watering, it produces condensation. Always keep those lids closed on your seed cells until you need to water your plants.

PLANT MARKER CABBAGE

As the seeds germinate & grow, they are still kept under the grow lights, but the lights on the chains gets moved up a few notches. You don’t want to burn your plant leaves with too much heat.

Well, that is it for now! You have successfully planted all of your seeds! Now you wait, and wait, until you see that little piece of green popping through your soil and then you rejoice! Normal germination for seeds can be just a few days, but others may take a little while longer, so be patient, you did nothing wrong!

Gardening is definitely like a slow dance, taking it nice and slow. Stay tuned for more gardening tips as we progress along our way!

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22 thoughts on “Gardening Is Like A Slow Dance

      • Our yard isn’t so bad. We just need help making our plants grow. Can you do that for us? Pretty please?? 🙂 Some stuff works and some doesn’t. We haven’t figured it out yet.

      • Do some research online for the plants you have in your yard. It could either be the soil (where they might need richer nutrients) or it could be a drainage issue. Some plants don’t like too much water.

    • We have a long way to go before we are planting anything outside. We still have a few feet of snow covering, well…everything over here. But the good news is that our seeds are started and we are so excited to start our gardening journey!

  1. Morning,…mom’s back from Nawlins’ so we can finally visit our friends.
    Mom has trouble with seeds in the house as there is no natural light. Mom swears up and down by natural light….like sunshine as opposed to the gardening lights. However, after saying this….she has used the artificial light. Dad got a wheeled cart and put the gardening hooks on each side of a 2X2. This worked pretty good…but it is very cool even in the house around here and the sprouts hesitate to stick their heads out. The best thing she did was turn a heating pad to low and put it under the plants…..this helped a lot. Mom usually starts herbs like summer savoury. Last year, the SS was very tall and lanky. I know, searching for the sun. I actually thought she started it too early. We like your ideas and next year will probably try some of them.
    (((Shoko)))

    • We are sooooo into gardening and love the journey! We have, even from the beginning, have started our plants from seeds under grow lights in the basement. That was interesting that you used a heating pad, but I would warn you about that if you use it again— you don’t want it to ever get wet or you could start a fire! They have plant heating pads that are sealed. The fun part of starting your own seeds are watching them grow. I baby them every day, given them the right amount of water, transplant them when they are ready, and get them all ready to head outside after our last frost, which we normally plant them late in May. All in all, it is a fun journey and we love it! Welcome home! 🙂

    • I know! The whole gardening process does really amaze me. You take a seed, put it in some soil, water it, and you can get over 200 Juliet tomatoes from it! WOW! Now that is success if I ever saw it! It is like magic!

      • Hey Nancy, I just started working on the GARDENING page today, check it out and let me know what you think! I think it will be a valuable place where future gardeners can find some good information! (at least I hope!)

      • Let me know when you have it farther. One suggestion – I wouldn’t break it into years like that. I don’t think that matters to the readers. What would help more is having specific topics (such as starting the seeds or preventing deer / dog issues). I found with pages that if you do topics, keep the parent (top page) minimal as it’s unlikely it will be read much.

      • That is a good suggestion. Also, do you know if there is a way to do widgets on a page and not just for the home page? I had an idea to create some gardening widgets on the garden page only.

      • I don’t nor am I sure you can. A work around would be to put the data onto another page, then set up a photo widget that links to that page. It would act like a widget even though it actually isn’t.

        I’m happy to give suggestions as long as you don’t mind the feedback. For me, that really helps because otherwise I’m too close to it.

      • Naw, I don’t mind suggestions at all. You are correct that some times you are too close to something and can’t see the forest for the trees.

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