okay, so this post will reveal my absolute lack of gardening common sense, but since I have learned from these mistakes, it's okay. So here are the notes on my first attempt at gardening.
I bought some soil. (notice the "some" specification. I paid no attention to how much, just bought a small bag. I did hedge my bets and get Miracle Grow with added fertilizers)
I decided to plant lettuce, as has already been discussed, and then put the seeds in the fridge to help promote germination, as suggested in my container gardening book. (note the "seeds". not "some of the seeds" which would have been smart since lettuce can grow well into fall, so multiple sowings would have been an option.)
After the 7 recommended days chilling, I decided to PLANT! I got out my soil and the three planters. First realization -- three 12" pots will NOT be filled with one (small) bag of soil. okay, not to worry, says I, I will do one pot. I dump in the soil.
All of it, first of all, does not even fill the one pot. I decided not to worry about that, and then, after strewing the seeds over the soil, realize I did not save any soil to spread on top. sigh. okay. so I dig a bit out of the sides of the pot, and gently spread it over the top. Have to do this three times, making some interesting blank spots in the pot, come sprout time. Also, I spread about half the seeds, vaguely recalling the book saying that I should plant more than I need, and can thin later, with small scissors, to avoid root damage. Proud that I recall this information, I spread seeds liberally. LETTUCE seeds. More on that later, but I'm sure you can come up with a good reason to leave space between the seeds.
I spray (not pour! another tip from my Book) water into my first pot, and proudly set it on my back porch, and look at it with glee. This pot will hold lettuce!! I will produce my own food for my family, albeit nutritionally devoid salad filler. oh well, it's food! and I am growing it!
I go out the next morning and dutifully spray more water onto the soil, as yet devoid of tiny green shoots. I do the same the next morning. How long does this take anyway?!
The next morning, Eureka!!! Tiny green leaves peeping up at me! But what's this? Oh damn damn damn. I forgot to turn the pot, since the soil is about 6 inches from the top, it creates it's own shade, and one side has received no sun, therefore no cute little green leaves. I turn it, in case they are still hopefully waiting under the soil, alive but very small, and go to work.
The next day, I decide to put the pot on the front porch. There is sun for longer out there, and lettuce needs (my vast knowledge, *ahem* the Book *ahem*, tells me that lettuce needs lots of sun, as well as continuously moist soil) more sun time.
The side that initially did not receive sun is a lost cause. The other side has sprouted many, many hearty green shoots that I have suddenly remembered need room to be lettuce heads. Time to do the first thinning. This morning, I took my little scissors out and started cutting. and cutting. I then decide this may work better when the plants are bigger, and I can tell which are the best ones. There are still quite a lot of green shoots, and the pot can hold what....3? 4? lettuce heads. and because I had to throw away the rest of the germinated seeds, since I had no more soil, that will be the entire lettuce crop this year, unless I buy more, and this packet of seeds was hard enough to come by! I think I need to start seeds, then transplant them when they are larger, next year, then I will have time to think about all my options.
Hey, with all this, I am just proud that those fragile little sprouts are still alive. Though as yet, very un-lettuce like. which may be good thing, since I will have to tell them that when they do begin to resemble real lettuce, most of them will have to die.
I am a gardener! I am so!