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"Possibility and promise greet me each day as I walk out into my garden. My vigor is renewed when I breathe in the earthiness and feel the dirt between my fingers. My garden is a peaceful spot to refresh my soul." Meems

Welcome to my Central Florida Garden Blog where we garden combining Florida natives, Florida-Friendly plants, and tropicals.

Monday, March 17, 2008

Seeds Intimidate Me

It doesn’t make a lick ‘o sense (as my dad would say). It shouldn’t be so. But it is so. I have to admit it. I am completely intimidated by the idea of sowing seeds.

You might know if you’re a regular reader of my blog I had some raised/framed beds built planning to cultivate my very first vegetable garden. Something I’ve dreamed of doing for a very, very (did I say very?) long time.

I bought tomato plants (too many I'm sure) at my local nursery and put them in the ground last week. THAT WAS EASY! Not at all intimidating. I know how to do that... A plant goes in the ground.

After a few short days the blooms turned into the promise of something much more.

But seeds? A whole other story. I've never planted seeds. Ahhh... it feels so better to get that out.

Even though the cute little seed packets have brief instructions for sowing each type of seed--- intimidation lurks over my shoulder as I imagine this sowing process should be done so precisely and scientifically. Attributes I don't employ often in my gardening style.
Let's face it, there are so many factors involved with seed sowing. What season to plant what foods. The temperature of the soil and when to plant. How close together to sow the seeds. Which ones do you put next to each other? How deep in the soil? How many seeds in each hole? How far apart? Should you create hills when you use framed beds? Which seeds need poles, or trellises to climb or hang from? Which veggies grow well together with which flowers or herbs? How many seeds to purchase for how much ground. Which seeds can be direct sown and which ones should be started in little pots or trays?

Anyway-- you get the idea. Seeds are fiercely intimidating—to me. I mean for heaven's sakes I planted some Zinnia seeds last week for the first time ever and the directions said not to cover with soil. Who ever heard of such a thing? I researched online and couldn't find a single confirmation of what I thought I read on the package in which the seeds arrived. I guess it was right because they have popped out of the ground in a hurry.
Zinnia babies 3days after planting. Except for the armadillo tracks through the center they look like they are happy.

I hope my ranting doesn't sound like a whine. I assure you I am not whining. More like a confession. A coming clean of sorts. A cathartic rambling.

You see, gardening has come easily to me over the years. It’s like an extension of my being as I’ve developed--- albeit through lots of trial and error--- our near-acre lot. The experience has been like “finding myself”. Truly a passion I am grateful to have discovered and been able to fully explore.

Okay, so the rest of this saga next time. I’ll catch you up with how I’ve reasoned with myself and how I’m determined to overcome my anxiety over the unknown. No need to worry about me... I’ll defeat the negative voices and plunge forward to see this vegetable garden to the end.


  1. If I were your neighbor I would come over there and help you with those seeds.

    I see you have Pinetree seeds. That's good because they at least have instructions on the packets. I have purchased seeds from other places that do not.

    It may sound too easy, but follow those instructions as best you can and you should be okay.

    Remember that the seed wants to germinate and will likely do so even without conditions being absolutely perfect.

    You can do it!

    Carol, May Dreams Gardens

  2. Just a thought...When you plant a plant there is instant satisfaction and gratification to a degree. You can see it, you can touch it...I guess you can even taste and smell it if you wanted to. It's possible to even tell when the plant has taken root after the transfer. Seeds don't work that way. Even when you have finished there is no evidence of any work. Nothing to see and nothing to touch. What if the seeds weren't planted correctly? What if an armadillo walks through the bed and messes them up? What if one of those beautiful birds that graces your garden eats the seeds? It takes faith. Hmmmmm...this analogy could go somewhere. :) Anyway, just my thoughts, and I know you will be very excited when those first shoots of green pop out of the ground and begin to uncurl.

  3. I can hardly improve on what Carol said. It would be great if you could find a seed-starting workshop through a local arboretum or garden club, if you don't know anyone who can show you how to sow. It looks like you're off to a fine start on your own, though. Often, the hardest part is ending up with too many seedlings and having to thin them out. (And gee, now you've given something else to be grateful for, besides hellebores: no armadillos in the garden!)

  4. You tell Mr Intimidation to back off. You already have success with seeds. Just look at all those zinnias sprouting. What fun. Carol is the Raised-Bed Veggie Queen. I am sure her advise is sound. You are already doing a good job. Hang in there. Now that you have confessed all will come to you easier. :)

  5. I guess it is easier for us Northerners to overcome intimidation for seed sowing because our season is so much shorter and we get a bit desperate to get some gardening started.

    I do understand your intimidation though because I've been there too, but if you ever started seeds just once indoors you'd be hooked I'm sure. You have a little more control over things and you get the personal and up-close experience of watching the fascinating process.

    I'm certainly no expert, and don't even give it a lot of thought really, but just about everything I sow grows, so Carol must be right that seeds WANT to germinate.

    It's so much fun and quite satisfying too. Try it!

  6. Meems,
    Thanks for stopping by my place. Come again! As for planting seeds, I've done it a lot in my lifetime, but not so much lately. I've never tried winter sowing. I really wanted to this year, but... perhaps, intimidation? I tried sowing just a few seeds indoors about 3 weeks ago... under flourescent (sp) lights. Nothing's sprouted yet. Hmmmm.

    I laughed out loud (sorry) at having armadillos in your garden. That's something that will never happen here. Do you get rabbits, ground squirrels and white-tailed deer (did I say, Big Nuisance)? ha.

  7. Meems, you'll be so excited watching your babies sprout it won't be long before you'll forget to be intimidated.

  8. You are going to LOVE growing food and flowers from seed! My one veggie suggestion is to grow summer squash or zucchini. They have big seeds and grow fast! I'm a bit intimidated when broadcast sowing over a bed (all mine end up on one side or in one corner of the bed). Keep us posted!

  9. Carol: I've just come inside from sowing the last of my seeds. I'll post about it as soon as I get a few minutes. Thank you, thank you for your encouragement and inspiration... I REALLY appreciate your help and I WISH you were my neighbor!

    Jane: Thanks so much for the encouragement. It is true seed sowing is takes patience and nurturing in a whole different way than plants.

    Nan: You've hit on something that makes me timid to think about... thinning. have lots of questions about the when and how of that particular chore. Oh well, I'm sure I can figure it out even if I make some errors along the way. Armadillos are pesky night creatures digging around in my beds.

    Really appreciate you cheering me on...

    Lisa: You are so sweet.And you are right. I'm standing up to Mr. Intimidation - I've been bullied long enough! :-)Carol IS the Queen and I've learned tons and gotten loads of inspiration from reading her blog.

    Robin: Okay, If Carol is the Queen of raised beds YOU are the Queen of sowing seeds indoors. I have chosen to direct sow my seeds being that we have such warm conditions.

    I am excited about watching them grow and I am starting to feel that once I get a taste of that satisfaction I'll be hooked. Thanks for the advice.

    Shady Gardener: Thanks for visiting Hoe and Shovel. No, we don't have deer but the pesky squirrels run around by the dozen- really. Rabbits haven't been a problem but I do see them from time to time.

    Lintys: I am working on forgetting already. Thanks. :-)

    Mary Beth: Thanks so much for your support. I did sow squash and zucchini - I picked things I like to eat. :-) Hey- GMTA!

  10. nancy: You are right. The what-if's are part of the challenge. In the end I determined to take the risk and risk-taker is just not part of me. I like things steady and sure ---but you know what?... it feels kind of good to get out of my comfort zone. AND I'm learning some new things-- now that always excites me!

  11. I'm not 'a seed sower' (not that I have never) but it's about time and space for me ~ often dreamed of a greenhouse but ... A gardener for many year, expanding bed after bed, I dig, divide and share. If I covet something new, I hit the nursery or Farmer's Market. Perhaps it's my age and the fact that growing time is so short, I desire instant gratification. It's hard enough with bulbs vs. varments ;)

  12. Zinnias were a great start. Good plan on those. Lettuce seeds when it's not hot are another. Squash seeds are really rewarding too (except for the squash bugs, but they come later.) How about sunflowers? They are easy and nice.

    I think one of the things I love most about blogs is the honesty. You were being so honest, and we're here to support you.~~Dee

  13. Just remember that God has already put a miracle in every seed...all you have to do it help it along with some soil and water. :-)

  14. Meems, you're already doing fine! If you can grow such beautiful plants like you do, then seeds should do wonderfully for you, too. Trust the seed packets. Also, think about things you have that reseed themselves and what happens there. That isn't so precise, so if you think about that, you'll realize it's a natural cycle of life. You won't always have success, none of us do, but the successes you DO have (most everything you sow) will more than make up for that.
    I love what Connie said, and that's so true! God HAS put a miracle in every seed!

    Oh, by the way, my mom - a Master Gardener and truly a veteran gardener extraordinaire - doesn't do seeds! She wants a plant and wants it now! LOL

  15. Joey: Our growing time is VERY long which adds to the appeal for me. Only the summer is too hot for veggies here. I am soon to find out if seeds are for me...

    Dee: I did put a heat resistant lettuce seed in the ground on Monday. Squash is planted- love squash from the garden so I'm really rooting these on. I may have waited too late but I'll soon find out. The Zinnias seem to be cooperating fully so far. Thanks for the encouragement and thanks for visiting Hoe and Shovel.

    Connie: Ahhh... sowing and reaping in a brand new way. Your reminder of 'miracle in a seed' is an aspect that has been calling out to me for many years.I'll do my part with the soil and water the best I can... I know God always does His part. Thanks.

    Kylee: I'm thinking about what you said about seeds that re-seed with no help from me at all. Very helpful tip. I think your mom sounds like a lady that has it figured out for herself and knows what she likes. I like that!

  16. Way to bare your gardening soul to the blogging world, very brave of you. You have given yourself some confidence with the zinnias too. I find with new to me seeds, that the Thompson and Morgan site has great info about soil temp needed and the cover or uncover thing on each seed they sell and they have a lot. They are bookmarked on my computer and I always check their instructions before sowing. Good luck with all your seeds!
    Frances at Faire Garden

  17. You've had some great advise here. I'm sure you'll do fine. Just say to yourself, "I'm not building a piano!" :)
    Thin the plants when they have one or two sets of 'true' leaves to whatever distance apart the package tells you. That doesn't have to be precise either.
    Some seeds need the light to germinate..hense not covering them, but I cover zinnias..and they germinate. Hmmm.
    Whatever you do, have fun! (as I'm sure you do) :)

  18. Don't feel bad about being intimidated. I have given up on indoor seed starting. Either the seeds failed to germinate, they dampened off or, in the final straw, got washed out by a freak downpour just before I was going to transfer them to the garden. If I can't direct outdoor sow it, I don't grow it (that's my motto & I'm sticking to it). I feel no shame in buying annuals & veggies that have been started in a nursery's greenhouse. I wish you better luck than I had.

  19. Seeds have been something I've ignored for years. I just let the plants seed around the garden, or even shake around the deadhead to scatter the seeds.

    This is the first year I've planted things from seeds in many years. Good luck to you! I look forward to reading about your progress here.

  20. Frances: Great tip with the site you referenced- I will check it out.Thanks. Those Zinnias are popping up quickly. Funny thing- I ended up not having room for them in my raised beds so I have tucked them elsewhere in a few places as an experiment to see how well they do.

    Kerri: thanks for the thinning tip- I have been wondering about that.It still seems a little confusing but I assume that too will kind of come to me as I actually do it. Thanks for visiting Hoe & Shovel and for helping me out.

    MMD: I like your motto. I don't think I would have the patience for indoor sowing and transplanting. Fortunate for me we have warm weather all year so I think the seeds must like it.

    Melanie: Interesting thought - shaking the dead head to scatter seeds. Here's to your seeds- hoping they bring you a great harvest for your efforts!

  21. it's ok, i'm a seed virgin too. i started mine a few months ago (although i planted a few in the summer, but none really did anything to write home about), and only now am i seeing all of them, though some were up in just a few days, like your zinnias. i was getting genuinely depressed about my bluebonnets, but i think i finally have a few sprouts. so, take heart, and take lots of pictures so you remember whats what if anything does reseed next year!


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