It all started last spring with the innocent plan of saving a bit of money by starting tomatoes, peppers, and herbs from seed. With our initial investment of about $20, some friends and I bought seeds, seedling trays, and dirt. We rejoiced over every little seed that sprouted, and split up the care of the trays between houses so that we wouldn't be over-burdened with the care of such fragile beings.
And, oh, the joy!
Those little plants turned out to be a fruitful (albeit overgrown) garden that we are STILL enjoying the benefits of (yes. I have one bag of corn and one jar of salsa that I just can't bring myself to part with yet. I need to know that I will have a harvest this year before I can say goodbye to last year).
For my birthday last December, my thoughtful husband bought me a fluorescent grow lamp in preparation for our Garden 2K10 (I should have known then that we were approaching the Point of No Return). The new year began with bitter cold, and, if you remember a blog post from a bleak January night, plans for the summer garden. The mister and I, trying to be a little more intentional about our choices, opted for heirloom seeds from SeedSavers and drooled over them when they arrived. We moved from casual sightseeing at the Point of No Return to considering real estate on the Point.
On March 1, we planted. And ran out of seedling trays. So we got more. More dirt. More seedling trays. We started a rotation of trays under the light, because we didn't have enough space for them all at once. We called on friends to care for the seedlings when we went out of town. We religiously checked them, watered them, petted them, talked to them, screened them from the harsh sun, and talked to each other about them daily:
"Oh! Look at this little guy! I thought he was done with, but he stood back up!"
"Check out the peppers. They're setting out their second set of leaves!"
"I guess I don't have to leave for work just yet. Let me finish watering."
"Do you think they're OK? I called Rebecca to go check on them. I hope it's good news."
Having learned a lesson from last year, we assumed that roughly 75% of our seeds would either (a) fail to sprout or (b) be killed by us once they had sprouted, so we planted accordingly. So, yeah. Thankfully, we don't have the killer touch we had last year, but surprisingly, we have about 584 sprouts - four varieties of tomatoes, four of peppers, and broccoli. All of those sprouts have to be transferred from the little seedling trays (you know, the little 1"x2" black plastic trays) to bigger peat pots, so that the roots can grow before we set them outside.