Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Planting Seeds: Take 2

First off, for those of you who didn't see the comments in my first post about trying to plant seeds (look there for Dorothy's advice thus far in its entirety), here's a quick recap of what Dorothy said:

-Make drainage holes in the bottom of the containers so water won't get trapped inside.
-Place the containers on a plate and put water on the plate so the soil/seeds will stay moist, but not be wet.
-Put the plate and containers inside a bag to keep the warmth and moisture inside so the seeds can germinate.
-Get the plants more light.  (My window sill attempt apparently wasn't going to cut it.)

So, that's basically what I did.

First, in order to (I hope) solve the light problem, I thought I'd let the plants hang out next to the florescent light above our kitchen sink.  So while the battery for the drill was charging, I rigged up this little plant holder so the seeds would be "inches from the light" like Dorothy said was important.
The strings are clipped on to the light cover with paper clips.  The metal frame is from our pizza stone.  My mom always expected me to be an engineer.  Seeing this now, perhaps it's not hard to believe that I used to rig up string and tape contraptions in my room so I could turn the light switch on and off from my bed.  And you should have seen my Barbie house.  Anyway, so that's my funky solution to getting the seeds as close to a florescent light as I could think of.  I know, I know--it's pretty genius, but... umm... does it matter that the florescent light is covered up by that clear plastic shade thing?  I really hope not.

I drilled holes in the bottom of each container (one in each corner since that part is the lowest part of the bottom, and six holes in the middle/slightly raised part of the bottom).

I took Dorothy's advice and added a couple extra seeds to each container.  Actually, let's be honest here, I'm not entirely sure how many seeds are in each container.  When I dumped out the dirt to drill the holes, sometimes I happened to see the seeds I had already planted and sometimes I didn't.  So some of these containers might have as many as five or six seeds.  Is that going to ruin things?  Do I need to dump out this soil and start over?  Please say no.

Next, I got these weird plastic bowls we have (I think we got them for drainage bases for planting a year or two ago, actually) and put three little planter containers in each one.  (Yes, I took another one out of the fridge and dumped the baby food out of it that Olivia wasn't eating anyway, so now I have a nice even number... and more chances for having seeds that will actually sprout.)

The bottoms of the containers don't actually touch the bottom of the bowl since I had to fit them in there kind of weird, so I filled the bowls up with enough water to reach the bottoms of the containers.  I didn't put any water directly into the containers (i.e. pour it right onto the soil).

Once both of the bowls were filled with (what I hope is) enough water, I put each one inside its own plastic bag and folded over the opening.  I didn't seal the bags.  Should I?

Then I carefully placed them on the perch up next to the light. 

Here they are, basking in their own personal tanning station.  I really hope they grow.

So, now I ask Dorothy and anyone else who has something helpful to add, is this good?  Should I change anything?  Do you have any extra advice you'd like to give?  Do you think my seeds will sprout???

Check in the comments for Dorothy's advice!

For more on the subject check out THIS POST and THIS POST.


Kathy Haynie said...

Wow, I am SO impressed that you actually drilled holes with a drill! I think I would have just scrounged up a nail and kind of poked it through.

And...hahahaha...I was totally thinking about you being "the engineer" when I saw the paperclips in photo #2. I'm still chuckling. It looks great! Your little plantlets should feel very pampered.

Smartiepants. :)

Dorothy said...

Ooooh, I am SO impressed, Katie. Very, very clever!!

Did I see standing water in the plates? That should be drained out after watering.

Having the cover on your flourescent light shouldn't make any difference at all.

The baggies don't need to be sealed. Just as soon as you see sprouters, be sure to take them off so the plants can get air circulation.

Too many sprouts? Use a little pair of scissors (or your fingernails!) to cut or pinch off all but one strong seedling per pot.

When they start growing, adjust your tray holder accordingly. The plants can be very, very close to the light. (Mine sometimes even touched...sometimes it's hard to keep up when they are growing so fast.)

You'll be a gardener yet!!

Katie Lewis said...

HOORAY! Dorothy, your comment made me feel like such a champ. Except now I need to go drain out that standing water... since it's been in there since this morning. I really really really hope they grow. Also, when I was moving the soil around to drill the holes in the containers, the few seeds that I did find in the soil already looked more moist, like they might be persuaded to grow. I hope so. Thanks so much for all your expert advice! I will definitely keep you posted on how it goes.

emmalou said...

I just want to tell you that I believe your little seeds will sprout up and become strong, healthy, happy plants. :)