So I’m nose-deep in seedlings of all size, needs, and variety. Many things I’ve had to re-sow at least twice, because germination was low or my cat ate them. (He specifically likes the hot peppers.) Some of the seedlings I almost lost due to overwatering–apparently seedlings turning pale yellow is a sign of overwatering! Some of the seedlings needed to be babied more than you’d think–my green peas and sweet peas are not nearly as cold-hardy as everyone says (at least not while germinating.) And, you will always need more heat mats and lights than you think.
Now that the local stores are selling seed starts, I’ve also learned a few more things. One, unless they are some kind of rare or otherwise interesting variety, don’t bother growing pansies and violas. You can get 6-packs of them in stores cheaper and quicker than you can grow them. Despite being small flowers, they seem to take forever to grow. Also, poppies, though very pretty once mature, are thin, frail-looking seedlings that take forever to grow and are a pain to pot on. (Cabbage and turnip seeds, on the other hand germinate almost instantly and grow an inch a day–probably why they make good microgreens.) Finally, box stores can and will be actively selling full-grown tomato plants long before our last frost date has passed. (I hate to imagine how many inexperienced gardeners lost their entire veggie garden after our unseasonably warm days followed by a hard freeze last week.)
Finally, you will almost always be able to get better deals in person at the store than online. For example, if I’d know Walmart sold dahlia tubers ($5/bag, two tubers per bag), I’d have saved a good bit of money and also gotten my dahlia cuttings started sooner. (A tuber is pretty much a tuber, no matter where you get it–especially plants like dahlias that you can take cuttings from.) As I was house-bound due to the surgery, though, there was only so much I could do. 😦
And finally finally, I’ve had to admit that, due to the surgery and the longer-than-expected healing process, I won’t be able to do everything I had planned in the garden this year. I had hoped to avoid container gardening almost entirely, but as most of my garden space has old established plants that need to be dug up or moved–or is still lawn and not yet garden space at all– into containers they’ll go. In the long run, this may help with the big plants. especially, as it gives me time to figure out the best spots for them. But it means, in the short run, much more hand-watering that I had wanted to do, as running irrigation will be a pain.