And just like that, spring is springing! I am very pleased to announce that I have been hired as a featured gardening expert as a part of HGTV’s new online garden initiative, HGTV Gardens.
In the coming months I will be writing a weekly column answering pressing and seasonally relevant garden questions sent in by readers (YOU!). The first one is dedicated to a problem we all have at this time of year: starting seeds on a windowsill. I may have a “fancy” (not really) seed starting setup AND a basement now, but for 15 years prior I crammed most of my seedlings onto old, wobbly windowsills and made due. I know how to make a windowsill work! And because I can never have enough space for seeds, I’ve found that I am still cramming the windowsills despite the “fancy” (not really) lighting setup. A bunch of alpine strawberry seedlings are growing there as I write this.
With each weekly column I hope to offer encouraging, practical and thrifty solutions, along with a few nuggets from my own experiences dealing with said problems. Since my answers are only as good as the questions I receive, I’d appreciate it if you’d head over there and offer up some questions to the HGTV team that I can write about in the coming weeks and months.
Hooray for spring!
Lately, I’ve been using photo sharing sites/apps like Instagram and Flickr to chart the progress of my seeds and seedlings as they germinate and grow. My older model iPhone does not take the nicest photos under low-light conditions, but I’ve found it to be a helpful way to track progress for my own purposes, especially when I can’t be relied on to write the proper date on plant tags! Let’s hope that it was wishful thinking on the part of my subconscious mind and not the effects of aging that caused me to inexplicably write “Sept” instead of “Jan” on the first round of hot peppers that I sowed a month and a half ago.
While it is still early days yet here in the upper regions of North America, many of us (myself included) have begun the process of buying and planting seeds for the 2012 gardening season. There are 12 years of resources published on this website, many of which even I have trouble locating, so I’ve compiled a list here to make it easier for you.
Caring for Seedlings & Planting Out
I am currently on a long flight to Thailand. Either that or I am currently in Thailand and passed out from a bad case of jet lag. I haven’t worked out the math. Before leaving for the trip, I assessed my seedling situation and decided that plants that were busting out of their seed starting pots would need to be repotted into larger containers if they were going to have a shot at thriving during my time away.
It’s surprising how much plants can grow in two weeks time!
I also decided to do this in consideration of our house sitter who is significantly over-loaded with plants to care for while we are away as well as a fussy, prima donna cat that will probably hiss and swipe at him at least once before our return. Plants that have overgrown their containers tend to dry out quickly and he’s got enough on his plate between my ever-expanding collection of houseplants and the myriad of seedlings I’ve got on the go in anticipation of gardening season.
Two months ago I had a brand new lighting setup and a hankering to test it out with some seeds so I sowed three packets that had been sitting around for a year: lithops, mixed succulents, and mixed cacti.