Life in Progress: A weblog by Heidi Price

Delicate little things

I received my seeds in the mail a few weeks back, and I have been planting ever since.

"Couldn't you send me the just half packs?" I asked the man on the other end of the phone line when I called to place my order with Grow Italian for the Pomodoro plums and tomatoes,the Genovase Basilico, purple eggplant, Italian Flat Leaf Parsley and Pepper Corno di Toro Giallo, also known as Yellow Horn of the Bull. (I hope these aren't too spicy hot.)

But the packs arrived, filled - in the case of my Sweet Italian basil, with close to 5,000 seeds. It seemed wrong to let them go to waste.

I planted as many as I could. I chopped all my coffee-to-go cups in half and used every other container I could find in the house: tomato cans, the containers I buy my roasted almonds in, and even a nacho dish. Once planted, I converted my dining room into a greenhouse, hanging flourescent lights and laying out newspaper.

They're delicate little things, these seedlings, and they'll teach you a thing or two. I've learned flourescent light doesn't seem to be enough. My seedlings flourished with a mixture of sunlight from the window and flourescent lighting after the sun goes down. It's tedious, moving them to the windowsill every morning and bringing them back to the flourescent lighting in the afternoon, but I try to alternate them, giving each seedling equal time in the sun. It comforts me that the plants still needed the sunlight.

And still some of the seedlings haven't made it. One long weekend without water at work, and all the basil and four plum tomatoes wilted away. At home, I turned the space heater too high in an attempt to give them more heat, and I'm convinced I scalded a few of the parsley seedlings that had just broken through the soil.

Maybe it's good they sent so many.


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