This has to be the most frustrating time of the whole season. After much anticipation I finally sowed my pepper seeds. These are the first seeds to find themselves lovingly placed in seed raising mix in preparation for my summer garden. They are notoriously slow and experience has taught me that if I’m to have a decent harvest before my first frost in autumn then they need to be started now.
In spite of being a bit rusty, having not sown any seeds for months, the technique came back instinctively and I felt good. Finally, I was growing again. The season is underway. I was even proud of my restraint and only sowed what I needed and a replacement set and resisted the urge to chuck in the extra “just in case” ones and completely avoided the “but they are so tiny, it wouldn’t hurt to grow a few more!”
Then I set them up in a warm spot with a gentle heat radiating from underneath, to appease their fickle desire to germinate in a cosy spot of around 22°C. Several times a day I gently misted the soil to ensure it was at the correct level of moisture. I had even used fresh seed in a brand new seed tray so I felt so chuffed with myself. We were off to a good start.
It has been 12 days and my confidence is beginning to waiver. There is no sign of anything. Nothing. The seed tray is barren. In spite of my obsessive level of care that no other seeds in the garden receives – there is nothing like that first child to get spoiled beyond belief. By the time the cucumbers go in there is so much going on that they get lobbed into the nearest pot and watered as and when and they rarely get individual attention. They still do well – proving we don’t really need to fuss as much as we do.
But I need to be reminded of this each season as I fuss over these first seeds. I begin to question myself. Is the misting not working – is the soil too dry. Maybe my mister is a little too misty and it is making the soil too wet. What if the heat is too hot and cooking my seeds? What if it is too cold and my wee babies are shivering down there in wet soil? What if the seed is dud? But with 11 different varieties, surely they can’t all be dud? I resist the urge to have a poke. I wake in the middle of the night with the question going around and around in my brain: “What am I doing wrong?”
But deep down in my heart I know what is wrong. The problem doesn’t lie with the seeds. It lies with me. I need more patience. They will pop up eventually – in their own time. I need to trust their natural instinct to grow. I have given them what they need and all I have to do now is wait. But I do wish they’d hurry up.
Come again soon – the sun is shining, the soil is drying and there is much to be done.
Sarah the Gardener : o)