Since I'm not sure how this is going to go and I don't have great soil in my yard, I decided I would plant my veggies in pots this year and if it goes well, I will invest in or make my own box planter next year. So I set off to buy my supplies.
I figured that gardening would save me loads of money when my veggies started to sprout, but I guess I didn't initially factor in the start-up costs. I spent over $60 on pots alone from Big Lots. The seeds were pretty cheap, at $1.00 or so per seed pack. I picked up a few varieties of tomatoes, cilantro, basil and summer squash to begin. I bought seedling cups to begin the seeds in. I bought a decorative garden gnome to guard my veggies (I could not resist).
I had tried to do research beforehand but I think I got carried away too quickly and wound up buying too much of the wrong soil. I bought a bag of potting mix, decided I could forego the seed starter potting mix and bought 2 bags of gardening soil. I know, I should have done more research.
Photo from tomatoheadquarters.com
It was going great for the first 2 weeks. We had so much sunshine, I could leave the plants near our sliding glass door and they soaked up the sun and the heat. They were sprouting within 5-7 days. I was congratulating myself on being "a gardener." I was imagining my harvest. And then we got almost 2 weeks of clouds and rain and my baby seedlings didn't see the sun for close to 14 days. They started to die off. The basil that had been flourishing wilted. After doing some more research, and making a Pinterest board dedicated to my efforts, I realized that despite my best efforts, my seedlings were "damping off." There was a whole new lingo to go with this hobby, as I should have expected. My plants came up from the soil and then after a few days of looking healthy, they began to wilt and fall over. I was so frustrated and disappointed.
This morning, I decided that I would try again. It's a little late in the season to start from seedlings, but I am going to give it one more effort before I wasted all that time and money. So I bought seed starting potting soil, I bought an LED light for my plants to help them grow indoors, I bought new seeds, I bought new cups, I got a fan to help circulate the air. I researched more thoroughly best practices for sowing seeds, I took care of the soil that I was using and I went at it.
I have a whole new tray of seedlings, plus about 5 seedlings from my first attempt that looked healthy enough to try to salvage. If this doesn't work, I guess I'll just go to the Garden Center and buy the small vegetable plants and transplant those into my garden. I will be a gardener this summer, if it's the last thing I do.