Last spring, our daughter and son-in-law moved into their first home. For the first time, she has a yard of her own. And being my daughter, of course she couldn’t wait to grow her own veggies. Although they moved in March, her advanced state of pregnancy took priority, and instead of carrots and beans, she grew an adorable baby girl. But this year, it’s time to garden!
At first, things seemed to go well. We consulted on the best crops and varieties for her area, and she wrote away for some local seed companies’ catalogs. Seeds were ordered in plenty of time, the packets arrived, and she started preparing the garden space where things were to grow.
She picked a sunny spot (the only sunny spot in the backyard), amended and turned the soil, piled up raised beds. Finally, after checking her average last frost dates, she planted her seeds, then waited anxiously for everything to germinate.
The peas came up. More peas came up. And… nothing else. Mom? Help!
In spite of repeated consultations, it seems that I didn’t remember to tell her everything. Here’s Mom’s forgotten advice for growing your own veggies.
Don’t plant the seeds too deep. Yup, that’s what happened. Seeds should be planted, at most, no deeper than three to four times their diameter. Some seeds, such as lettuce and many flowers, need light to germinate, and should be barely covered with fine soil. (I often sprinkle them with vermiculite instead of dirt, as it doesn’t crust and is easy for the seedlings to push through.)
Oops. Well, you can always try again.
Please read last week’s article, “Growing, Growing, Gone.” Was it slugs, or that cute gray cottontail that visits her yard? I forgot to tell her to fence out critters! And since I don’t deal with slugs here in dry Colorado, I also forgot that they’re a major menace in western Washington.
Oops. Well, you can always try again. She was running low, so I mailed her some of my extra seeds.
She has now planted for the third time. It’s a good thing that Washington state has a fairly long growing season.
Meanwhile, her father-in-law brought by a pile of chard, lettuce, and other spring vegetables from his garden. There’s more than one way to get garden-fresh produce!
All photos by Karin Holzmann Brown