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  • Writer's picturePatty Sawyer

How Does Your Garden Grow?

Springtime at Sew-Clusion Retreats

It’s early spring in Maine and yet, a forecast of 8 inches of snow is not out of the scope of possibility, even into late April or early May. Depending on when the first and last frosts occur, it can sometimes be a very short growing season for those of us who like to plant our own gardens. Whether you like to grow flowers or vegetables, it may be wise to consider starting some seeds indoors when the weather outdoors does not seem to want to cooperate.

Have you ever tried starting seeds indoors? It can be tricky! Sometimes, I overwater the soil and it becomes moldy, drowning the seeds as well. Sometimes I underwater and the soil becomes too dry for the seeds to sprout. Either way, the seeds do not geminate or grow properly. I’ve tried special seeds with “proven” results. I’ve even tried seed pods. Unless the conditions are just right, the results are disappointing, even disastrous; especially if you end up ruining your window sills from poor draining containers. Sure, sometimes they seem to get a good start only to fizzle out and die just before transplanting. Sometimes, they die after transplanting, probably from the cold. So why don’t I just give up? Do I not know the definition of insanity? I’ve always wanted a robust garden so I keep trying, year after year.

Last year was different though. I had a lightbulb moment…an “ahhaaah!” of sorts and I tried something new. It worked wonderfully well. So well in fact, I’m happy to share this tip with you.

For months prior to planting, I save “take out” containers from my purchases at the local stores and restaurants. My favorite ones are the rotisserie chicken containers. The domes are extra high and they are vented for the steam to escape. They seem to be a perfect solution. When I plant my seeds in these containers, I spray them until just barely moist. Then I put the top on, label them, set them on the window sill and forget them. On warm sunny days, condensation forms on the dome which consistently provides the right amount of water. The seeds germinate at an impressive rate and are protected from any harsh elements (like wind or pets). About a week prior to transplanting, I move the containers outdoors to slowly acclimate them to the temperature variations of night and day. Once the danger of frost has past, I merely slide the whole container of soil and plants out onto a new bed of soil in the garden and thin them out as necessary. Whoolah! Let nature do the rest, right?!

Wrong! Every year, I plant with the hopes of a bountiful harvest. The reality is, my harvest is always quickly chewed up by all the critters who live around my garden. I may, on a good day, beat the chipmunks to one cherry tomato or the rabbit to a handful of lettuce. But, I never seem to get there before they do. So this year, I’m trying a raised garden…and I’m considering putting it out on the dock. Call me crazy…but, I must win the battle of the harvest!

Do you have any gardening tips you’d like to share? You can comment on our Facebook page or send us an email. Also, be sure to sign up for my newsletter here! This month, while supplies last, you’ll receive a free packet of seeds to try your luck at gardening. You’ll also get to enjoy a look at what’s happening at Sew-Clusion Retreats. Our exclusive deals are only available in the newsletters. Sign Up Here for a free packet of seeds while supplies last!

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