Maybe more of an olive-y color?

I’ve never had much of a green thumb. Even though and both are quite skilled at growing things, I tend to kill them. I once killed a cactus plant – I watered it too much.

I’ve had much better luck with in-ground plants (versus potted ones), and vegetable gardening has been quite rewarding. The soil at our house happens to be especially fertile, since most everything we plant does well, without much work on our part (aside from plenty of sunlight and watering).

Regardless, it was completely understandable that someone scoffed when I told them I was starting plants for our vegetable garden from seeds. I mean, a plant from the store will most certainly have better luck than seeds, which are fickle and delicate. But, seeds are exponentially cheaper, and there are far more varieties available than at your local garden center, even if it does happen to be the flagship Bachmans.

I ordered my seeds from Baker Creek [link removed], and they are all heirloom seeds. I was very picky and read the comments before choosing my varieties. I think I picked well, though only time will tell.

Here’s my set-up. That’s a cardboard egg carton with potting soil (and seeds, obviously), sitting in one half of a take-out container and lightly covered with plastic wrap. The tray has plenty of water in it, so between that and the plastic, the seeds stay nice and moist, even if I forget about them for a few days. I have two such set-ups (one four-egg and one eight-egg from the same carton), sitting on the shelves of a planter, parked in front of the patio door in our bedroom. It’s south-facing, and gets tons of sun, so these guys have a good chance.
I planted these guys on Sunday afternoon, and here was the state of affairs on Tuesday night. The other seeds didn’t show much activity, but the lettuce mix (Rocky Top mix, if you’re interested) is very promising.

I managed to snag these photos before leaving for work this morning. It’s amazing what can happen in just a few days!

Squash, if memory serves me.
More squash!
And the lettuce! Oh my goodness! There will be plenty of thinning out to do, that’s for sure. (I was feeling generous with the lettuce seeds, since there were 1,000 seeds in the packet. I do plan on planting some seeds every 2-3 weeks so that we can have a continuous crop throughout the summer and early fall. I’m doing that for carrots, cucumbers, and the lettuce.)

managed to snag this photo on Wednesday evening.

Just hanging out on the deck. They’re cute in the back yard, but once they get into the front yard, Prince Charming and the chipmunks become mortal enemies (though the relationship is not nearly as volatile as the one between Prince Charming and the squirrels).

I think my set-up will keep the seedlings growing while we’re in California (being away for 5 days could be dangerous). The tray holds a sufficient amount of water, and a large portion of the seeds have not sprouted yet. In two weeks (roughly), I’ll be faced with the difficult question of where exactly these guys will be going, and then removing all the rocks from those parts of the garden. I know that the spots where we had tomatoes and peppers last year are cleared, and that we can’t put those same crops in those same places again, but I have a lot more varieties this year (for the record, two kinds of pattypan squash, butternut squash, sweet potato squash, pie pumpkins, cucumbers, carrots, lettuce, tomatoes, brussel sprouts, red peppers, and peas). I am assuming that will want to do hot peppers again this year, but we’ll do those as plantings, not seeds. Go ahead and laugh at the ambitious plan. Just don’t do it to my face, or I won’t give you any fresh-from-the-garden carrots. There will certainly be plenty of many of those to go around (I plan on only letting one of each type of squash grow to full size, so that should help, but there will still be surplus).

I do have plans to learn how to store away much of our produce (see linkfest post later this afternoon). The tomatoes are “paste” tomatoes, meaning they should make good sauce (which is all I want them for). The squashes should store for several months if kept right. The carrots and peas will freeze, and perhaps the brussel sprouts, so that just leaves the sweet peppers, lettuce, and cucumbers. I see many salads in our future.

If anyone is interested, I have an unopened packet of eggplant seeds, which were free with my purchase. I despise eggplant and will not be growing it in our garden. Ever.

But for now, I’ll just leave you with this peaceful thought.

(Click to view full-size in Flickr if you can’t read the very small text.)