Impulse control and the ability to delay gratification are often difficult for young children. One thing that gardening has shown me is that I may have some issues in this area as well.
In the past we have started our seeds indoors and then moved the seedlings to the garden once the weather was better and there was little chance of frost. Last year we started our seeds far too early—twice — and they outgrew their containers. Many of the seedlings died before we could plant them outside.
With our unpredictable weather this year I was hesitant to start planting so we only did our grain seed experiment indoors. When the outdoor garden beds were ready we planted our grain seeds;
and some bean seeds and sunflower seeds were put in the planters around the yard.
Then we got busy with other projects until suddenly I realized that we had no vegetable plants or seeds to put in the garden! Well, at least I can’t complain that we started them too early. Besides, Dave over at Sage Garden Herbs says that in our climate early June is the best time to start planting outdoors.
I made a quick trip to the store for some of our favourites – tomato plants and seeds for corn, peas, cucumbers and zucchini. We finally start planting our vegetable seeds directly into the garden.
We used toilet paper tubes to mark the spots where we placed seeds so we wouldn’t accidentally pull the sprouts thinking they were weeds. Hopefully the tubes would also help to prevent the cutworm damage we have experienced in previous years.
It rained for the next few days so we started some herbs indoors. Since these were leftover seeds from last year or from our winter indoor garden project we were not sure how well they would grow. So far they seem to be doing well.
I guess I shouldn’t always be using the term ‘vegetables’ since our tomatoes, zucchini, cucumbers and green beans are actually fruits. We’ve also learned that the soybeans are also considered to be fruits even though we have included them with our grains.
Now comes the really difficult part for me – waiting. Every day, when we go outside the children and I head to the garden first. We marvel at the progress the grains are making – getting taller every day.
Then we check for any signs of other sprouts. The children seem unconcerned when there are no visible signs of growth and they go off to play elsewhere. I stay in the garden, waiting and wondering. Were the seeds not good? Did we plant them too deep and the sprouts can’t reach the surface? I (barely) resist the urge to go poking around in the soil looking for them. I consider secretly planting more seeds in the same spots – more is better – right?
Why are they taking so long? I know the seed packages say ‘7-14 days’ but the beans sprouted in just 4 days and a week later they looked like this;
Then finally, near the end of the advertised germination period we find the first zucchini sprouts. By 2 ½ weeks we have corn, several cucumber and zucchini plants and just one of the peas. You have to look very closely but they are there peeking out of the tubes.
The children are thrilled – they looked, cheered and went off to play again. I inspect each new plant and then stare at the empty spots. Why don’t you grow? I notice all the vacant spots seem to be in the shadier parts of the garden. That could definitely be a factor but still; it has been nearly three weeks now.
The children are content to wait. They enjoy the whole process. I expect instant results. I want to plant seeds one day and be eating fresh veggies by the end of the week. I am an impatient gardener.