So, I did a thing, finally. (part II)
So on 6/30/20, my first garden was completed and planted. I planned on the first year to be a learning experience more than anything and so far, it has been. I planted everything from seeds that I purchased at Walmart on a random supply trip when the COVID scare first started. I had always wanted to grow stuff and figured it would be a good time to learn.
The first year, I planted the following:
- Pole Beans
- Sweet Peppers
Per the instructions, I dropped 2 seeds into each hole. This is a common practice to prevent wasted space in case some seeds do not germinate. For me, EVERY seed germinated so within 7-10 days, I had two seedlings sprouting from each place on every location. At around 2 weeks or so, I followed instructions to ‘thin’ them out by taking the extra seedling from each point and replanting it into an open spot in the gardens. I followed further instructions, including videos, on this process and tried to be as careful as possible. There were a couple I did not thin because I ran out of room but for the most part all of them found a new home before they began to compete for soil resources and crowded each other out.
Fast forward a few weeks and to my despair, 70% of my replants and 40% of my originals that had been disturbed during the process had wilted away and died. I attribute this to two things. 1) I may have not done it correctly. I think I did however, in fearing over watering, I may not have watered them enough based on further research after the fact. 2) I planted my garden late. By the time the thinning had been completed it was mid July, not mid April/May and the sun was blazing hot. Generally when you transplant seedlings by thinning, they wilt down for a few days as they re-establish themselves. The combination of 1 and 2 together probably contributed the most. What could I have done? Well I could have watered a little better at the time of transplant to help meld the soil around the roots better as well as give it some moisture to recover. I did not mention and I realized even further into this that I should have mulched. A raised bed does not hold water well so with it trickling down and out easier than an in-ground bed, the heat of July also evaporated from above. Also, I could have used a cloth (cheese cloth maybe) to cover the seedlings for a week or so in order to help them from getting baked before they were fully ready.
Overall, my gardens did well to fill out but that is mainly due to the resilience of the ‘Cucurbita‘ type plans such as squash, zucchini, and cucumbers. They began to falter some later, but that’s for a different post. The beans, in which I planted/replanted a total of probably 35-40 of, pretty much were wiped out. I only had maybe 6 plants survive and now, a month and a half later, these are stunted and growing very slowly. Sadly, these were the plants I was the most excited about. But lessons learned, no?