Nearly everyone is familiar with the Bible’s Golden Rule: “Do unto others as you would have them do unto you”, but what about a Gardening Golden Rule? Is there any such thing?
I did a quick internet search, today, and quickly stumbled upon a few: “leave the earth better than you found it”, “group plants together that have similar water needs”, and “never pass along a problem plant”. These are all great gardening rules!
This morning, as I was starting some more seeds, indoors, I thought about my own Golden Rule of Gardening, which is this: “All new varieties of seeds must be planted indoors, in individual seed pellets first, before ever attempting to plant them outdoors.” (Okay, that’s really wordy, and I need to work on a condensed version) So, why the rule? Because I can’t tell you how many times I’ve seeded outdoors first and had no clue what I was looking at a week later when a mix of seedlings emerged from the soil.
So, one of my top priorities in gardening, now, is to become familiar with what the different varieties of plants that I grow look like at the seedling stage.
The best way I’ve found to do that is by starting seeds indoors, in individual seed starting pellets.
(Early Jersey Wakefield cabbage seedlings)
My favorite medium for this is Jiffy Seed Starting Pellets. I love the bottom-up watering system, which makes it much easier to control the moisture level and ensures that I won’t accidentally wash any small seeds or seedlings away. By growing them indoors, I can check on the plants’ growth, daily, giving me a clear picture of seedling development. (In the future, I’d like to take pictures at each stage and keep them in a photo album to create my own field guide for identifying all of plants that I am growing on our property).
Once I am familiar with what the different seedlings look like, then I give myself permission to plant away outdoors!
Knowing what the seedlings look like helps me to judge whether the seeds I’ve planted have germinated, eliminate any foreign weed seedlings that my be in the vicinity, help identify plants to aid in the thinning out process, and also help identify any volunteers that may have sprung up in different places throughout the garden where wind or animals may have planted them from the previous season.
That’s my Golden Rule of Gardening, and I’m sticking to it!
What about you? Do you have a Gardening Golden Rule that you absolutely must abide by?