“To plant a Garden is to believe in tomorrow” – Audrey Hepburn
The world as we know it has come to a halt in so many ways, schools, shops and workplaces are all shuttered. We all agree it’s best to be responsible, social distance and isolate despite the personal and economic fallout. My question to myself has been what to do to make an effort not to waste away hours watching tv, YouTube, Netflix and social media?
I am isolated alone and wanted a project that as Marie Kondo says “brings me joy”.
Each summer I plant herbs and veggies in my “garden”. It’s a simple pleasure made even simpler by buying my plants. Even though it was a cold and sometimes snowy March, I decided that I would for the first time ever begin to grow my garden from seeds, in my sunny dining room.
Here’s how I did it.
Purchase high quality fresh seeds – the year should be marked somewhere on the packet. There are hundreds of varieties. Buy the ones you know you’ll use. Familiarize yourself with the seed package instructions regarding water and light needs. Consider planting plants with similar requirements together.
SEEDING TRAYS – ANY POT OR CONTAINER WILL WORK
Any container is fair game for starting seeds as long as it has drainage. I purchased a basic seedling tray but it is not necessary
LABELS – I USED THE SEED PACKETS AS LABELS
There’s nothing worse than not remembering what you have planted where, after you’ve gone to the trouble of starting your own seeds. For that reason, always label your seedling with the variety and if you want to keep a journal list the date as well.
Seeds need light and warmth. I opened a card table in front of my dining room window for optimal light and they’re doing great. Rotate the seedlings frequently to insure even growth of the plant.
Here’s how I did it:
STEP 1: PREP
Fill containers with soil tamping down but not too hard as soil needs to be kept moist. Leave space at the top for watering, about ½” from the top
STEP 2: MAKE HOLES
Using your finger or pencil, make holes in the soil. A handy rule is to bury seeds about twice as deep as they are thick.
STEP 3: LABEL
Label pots with the type of seeds.
STEP 4: WATER
Water and optionally fertilize containers after planting until damp and set them in trays or sink to contain spillage from the holes at the bottom of the tray. Follow directions of package.
STEP 5: CHECK CONTAINERS DAILY
Once you’ve sown the seeds indoors, check daily for new shoots. Keep seed starting mix moist – not soggy – until germination is complete and the emergence of new seedlings stops. A spray bottle can help you manage moisture.
STEP 6: POT YOUR SEEDLINGS
The seedlings will produce undefined leaves at first. Wait, do not repot until they show their “personality”. Repot individual plants into a larger pot where the roots have room to grow. I used plastic bins I had in storage punching holes into the bottom for drainage.
STEP 7: TRANSPLANT IF NECESSARY
If necessary, transplant seedling to a larger pot as it grows. Before planting outdoors, place seedlings outdoors for a few hours at a time, gradually increasing their time outside until acclimated.
This is merely an introduction into a rewarding an fun hobby. If you decide to plant your own garden send us photos to [email protected], we’d love to see the results!
– Michelle Lander
The Cummings Centre’s mission is to empower and enhance the quality of life of adults age 50 and over by providing dynamic and innovative programs, social services, and volunteer opportunities in a vibrant, respectful, inclusive and compassionate environment. Building on its Jewish heritage, Cummings embraces people from all ethnic and socio-economic backgrounds.
As the hub of Montreal’s 50+ community, the Centre touches the lives of 10,000 people on an annual basis. In addition to its main campus at 5700 Westbury Avenue in Montreal, programs are offered at several off-site locations including the West Island, Cote Saint-Luc, St.Laurent, Westmount, Chomedey and Florida.
For more information, please contact us by phone at 514-343-3510, online at www.cummingscentre.org or in person at 5700 Westbury Avenue.