Gardening Mistakes: Overcoming Seed Planting Issues

By Laura Miller | October 9, 2020
by Laura Miller
October 9, 2020

I’m always amazed at the resilience of my fellow gardeners. Whenever I have a problem, whether it’s minor gardening mistakes or an epic garden fail, I know I can find other gardeners who have not only had a similar experience, but also know how to fix it.

It’s this resilience which makes me believe that from garden adversity comes gardening success. Let me share the perfect example of how another gardener’s wisdom helped me save my garden one year.

Seed Planting Issues

It was a very wet spring and things went wrong in the garden from the start. Heavy snowfall over the winter had left the garden soil too wet to work in early spring. Attempts to plant peas and lettuce failed, as the seed rotted in the cold mud. When cooler than usual temperatures lingered into April and May, the ground refused to dry. Spring rains only added to the muddy mess.

Inside the warm coziness of my home, my garden seedlings were growing fast. Whenever I start plants from seeds, I think of them as my babies. This year I was particularly proud of my kids. My peppers and tomato plants had thick, strong stems and big, dark green leaves. I knew I had a superb group of seedlings and was looking forward to the upcoming growing season.

As the middle of May rolled around, I began hardening off my seedlings. Frost-free nights arrived near the end of the month, yet the garden remained too wet to till. By now, tiny white root tips were poking through the drain holes as my plants longed to be set free in the garden.

Now, this was not my first wet spring. On occasion I had used a hand spade to dig small holes and planted the garden without tilling. This year was different though. The ground was overly saturated and I was fearful my seedlings would succumb to root rot. I held off transplanting and, by mid-June, my babies were clearly rootbound.

Planting Seedlings in Pots

Luckily, I ran into a gardening friend. She told me her garden had also been too wet to plant. So she gave up and planted her seedlings in pots. Inspired by her ingenuity, I gathered every medium to large-sized planter I owned.

My garden that year filled the end of my driveway and porch. I harvested beautiful juicy tomatoes and crispy bell peppers. Although my yields weren’t what I would have expected if I’d planted in the garden, I was surprised at the success of my container garden.

Hence, from garden adversity comes garden success. Since that year I’ve always reserved a few choice seedlings and planted these special babies in containers. I can transplant them earlier and bring the pots inside if frost or cold weather threatens.

Container gardening gives me homegrown ripe tomatoes and peppers several weeks earlier than from the garden. Just think, I wouldn’t have learned this if I had just thrown in the trowel and given up gardening that year. So, yes! Gardeners are a resilient bunch!

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