Help! My seedlings are plants!

By Sienna Mae Heath | February 28, 2018
Image by Sienna Mae Heath
by Sienna Mae Heath
February 28, 2018

Powered by a creative spirit and a practical mind, Sienna Mae Heath specializes in garden blogging and feature story writing. She spends time cultivating vegetable plants and perennial flowers in her backyard, in-between writing for her blog Garden Mindfully. Nowadays, she’s writing from home and frolicking in her wildflower-fennel patch. A poet at heart, she believes a natural footprint paves the way for a fulfilling life journey. Here, she shares her seed starting schedule for Zone 6b.

My seedlings have matured well beyond their years.

But try teaching patience to a novice gardener. I’m that person. Tell me, last year, to stop sowing nasturtiums in February.

My ambitions resulted in this overflowing planter of lettuce, parsley, and a grand nasturtium.

And here, to this adorable teacup. You and I both know nasturtiums thrive best planted in the ground, in sub-par soil. These bushy blooms aren’t picky.

There’s a time for everything. (February 12 is not the time to plant a flat of nasturtiums unless you have room for dozens of terra cotta planters like this one around your house.)

I may have started broccoli early, too.  In my defense, I recall a sort-of Indian spring last February.

This year, I’m going to do things right. I’m planning every single seed, right down to the cell and planting medium.

Broccoli can be started pretty early, I figure, but others in my pile such as zinnias, marigolds, moonflower, and nasturtium, are bursting with life that will mature in 90 days or less! Sounds like a shady sales ad. They’ll just have to wait.

My Zone 6b seed starting schedule, roughly based in reality:

January 28, Easton, Pennsylvania

In my brand new BioDome, I haven’t placed the sponges yet. Just six 4×4 planters of lettuce. I focus: Place one spinach seed in one planter. Done. Then mizuna. Finally, I can’t help it, a sprinkle of arugula in one and of loose leaf in two. Just 50 days to a salad, fresh from the basement.

In the 72-cell Jump Start Germination Station (a Christmas gift), I attempt the 3rd-grade level science project and use the accompanying sponges. Soaked, they are ready for 36 pansies, 6 purple alyssum,  6 Roman chamomile, 4 parsley (two curly, two flat leaf), 14 basils (Tulsi, Genovese, and purple vanilla), more leeks than I can count, and 3 broccoli.

My broccoli sprouts are more modest this February.

In a simple 72-cell tray, I sowed mostly Johnny Jump Ups and more pansies. My Johnnys jumped up a week later!

Looking forward to late March, when I’ll harden off my pansies, alyssum, broccoli, leeks, and parsley and transplant chamomile and basil into bigger pots. Is it ever too early for basil?

Awaiting April, I practice patience. These slow-growing seedlings teach me that growth is beautiful in any time frame.


My to-sow list for April 1st…

In the BioDome, I’ll try  oil seed extract infused sponges to grow:

10 Peppers (varieties of Aura, Islander, Antohi Romanian, and Long Sweet Thai)

12 Tomatoes (Brandywine, Pineapple, Sun Gold, and Indigo Rose)

6 Cucumbers (Persian)

4 Summer Squash

4 Zucchini

2 Butternut Squash

2 Acorn Squash


In the 72-cell trays:

A whopping 90 Zinnias and 90 Marigolds and maybe some nasturtiums.

As for that fresh salad, fortunately, I know a guy — Farmer Thad, who shares gorgeous lettuce on Wednesdays at The Farmers’ Market at NCC.

Here’s to the farmers and seasoned gardeners who practice patience. Teach me your ways.

How do you pace yourselves?

When does a garden become a burden, not a blessing?

What happens when you sit back and appreciate the bounty before you?

Tell me in the comments below!

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