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Planting the greenhouse in the living room

By Penny Stine

It may not officially be spring or planting time yet, but I’ve started my greenhouse in the living room. Last Saturday, I got five different types of pepper seeds started, as well as some lavender and coral bells.


Last year was my first year to try and start everything from seed rather than buying plants at the nursery. It was a good learning experience, which is a nice way of saying that I killed lots of baby plants.


Because I was a newbie to the process, I went to a Saturday morning seedling starter class at Bookcliff Gardens. In class, Dennis Hill said one of the worst things a gardener can do is start seeds too early. Plants get spindly and leggy before the weather’s nice enough to plant them outdoors. So I dutifully waited until St. Patrick’s Day to start my seeds. That gave them eight weeks to be big enough to transplant.


I learned from trial and error (but mostly error) that eight weeks isn’t long enough for peppers or lavender. A lot of my seedlings didn’t survive in the garden. I felt like such a mean and cruel person for planting such itty-bitty plants and expecting them to survive. In fact, eight weeks wasn’t really enough for the tomatoes, herbs or flowers, either.


Perhaps under the ideal growing conditions of a professional nursery, eight weeks is good. Under the less-than-ideal conditions of my living room, I decided to give most of the pepper 12 weeks (although I’m planning on starting a few more peppers as well as some herbs this weekend, which will give them 11 weeks). I’ll probably give the tomatoes and flowers a good 10 weeks.
Even though I just planted them on Saturday, a couple of the Munstead Lavender plants have already sprouted. Yay! Time to do the happy dance, as my gardening buddy, Jan, says. I know from last year that they grow very slowly, so I’m not worried about them getting spindly.


What’s been the experience of everyone else?

 

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