Not so fast, slugs

IMG_7129 (Peppers)

It’s been about a month and a half since I started my first seeds for this summer’s garden and about a month since the slug invasion.  After that unfortunate incident, some of the wind disappeared from my gardening sails.  I just sat back for awhile and grieved for my dearly departed lettuce. I still tended the other seedlings, but half-heartedly . . . and while I wasn’t paying attention . . .

IMG_7141 basil grew strong and tall,

IMG_7133  love-in-a-mist—a new flower for me—proved to be a champion performer,  zinnias are thrived, too.

IMG_7144and tomatoes and eggplants developed their second sets of leaves.

IMG_7142There have been a few more “disappointments”;  the broccoli, kale, and calendula seedlingsare hanging in there, but are pretty limp and languid looking.  Maybe too much heat/water?

I knew I should be planting more seeds; that voice kept nagging, “You really need to get some others planted.  Remember your goal to improve on last year’s garden.”

And, then, a couple of things happened.

First, I found help and inspiration.   Have you heard of Emily’s My Square Foot Garden?  I found it via a Simple Organic link the other day—they were linking to an awesome Excel worksheet for helping gardeners plan their companion plantings.  And, while exploring this great website, I found something even better: a customized newsletter for your area on when to start certain seeds indoors, transplant your starts, or plant directly outdoors. 

Second, I found a stowaway (more on that in a minute).

I’ve always kind of guessed at my area’s last frost date because I was never sure exactly what zone I’m in.  But, with Emily’s system, you use the tools on her website to determine your last frost date, which then determines your group “color”.  I’m a yellow.  Then sign up to receive an e-mail newsletter each Monday that tells you what you should be starting inside, transplanting, or planting directly outdoors that week FOR YOUR SPECIFIC AREA!

Life-changing (at least gardening-wise) I tell you!  It motivated me to re-plant my lettuce starts (only 2 originals survived the slug attack).  Just doing that revived my seed-starting gusto and rosemary, sunflowers, and cosmos now patiently await germination beside the second round of lettuce.  Up next: oregano and thyme.

And about that stowaway?  When I finally dug my potting supplies back out to plant the lettuce, I found this:

IMG_7136

A renegade seedling—possibly a zinnia—thriving at the bottom of the greenhouse in a forgotten tub of potting soil.  Drinking the leftover mist from other plants, seeking out what little sunshine it could find under three other shelves of plants—it sprouted and grew all without any help from me.

I can’t wait to see what I get to plant next week!

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