By Saline Jett, Master Gardener Trainee
Good Gardening Day! Every day for me is a day to learn about gardening.
Have you started planting seeds yet? I discovered a wonderful internet resource at the University of Illinois; see http://web.extension.illinois.edu/vegguide/step03.cfm. I was fortunate to have a wonderful lady print the information for me so I am able to keep the information in my handbag as I browse and contemplate my seed choices. The list provides the crop name, amount, days to harvest, and the resistance to disease.
Seed packets in my local area provide basic information. However, I also discovered that a few companies offer information on whether the seed is an heirloom or a hybrid; some packets even tell us if the seed is compatible to container gardening! The list I found is extremely helpful, so I am able to choose seeds that will help me obtain better results. In the past, I would just grab a pretty package of seeds and go with it, but I usually did not get the best results. Now, coupled with information on the lighting and soil type along with the knowledge of space requirements and the available cool or warm season information, I hope to plant seeds that are most compatible to our State in order to get better results.
I do not start my seeds indoors due to my lack of necessary time, patience, lighting requirements, and most of all, I have indoor/outdoor cats. I am excited to have planted radish seeds in my demonstration bed at the Extension Office. I must admit, I was quite careful at first. I had a ruler and was very carefully placing the small seeds in a hole for about 15 minutes or so. Then I got excited and decided I really don’t want that many radishes to develop at one time. My, these seed packets have a lot of seeds.
I hope to plant several other seeds in my demonstration bed, but I need to continue to plan and carefully choose varieties that are going to give me success. The challenge I face is my desire to incorporate heirloom and container varieties in the demonstration bed. And this year I may choose annuals versus perennials. Lighting and water requirements are a concern, so as I choose my seed packets, I look to see if they are listed on the packet.
My excitement and my anxious personality, coupled with my impatience, challenges me to focus and adjust my thoughts to prepare me to concentrate on just one seed variety at a time so that I am able to be better equipped to learn and study the results I will receive at harvest time.
This little tidbit of information may not appeal to the seasoned gardener, but maybe it is enough to spark an interest in someone who maybe struggles with their own desire to grow and learn about their way of gardening; and I want to honor my former high school biology teacher. Just because I struggled with vocabulary and knowledge at the time didn’t mean I didn’t want to learn and know the material. He encouraged me to continue the challenge of lifelong learning.
The Master Gardener Plant Swap is Saturday, April 25, at the Nashville Library, along with the library’s book sale. Bring a Plant, Take Home a Plant, and if you haven’t a plant to bring, you may still take home a plant for a small donation.