Starting to grow - The Inner Gardener

  • Last updated: 16 September 2022

I have decided today that my precious, not-so-little seedlings need to migrate from my windowsill. They are starting to outgrow the space, staring at the outside world with all the leaves and stems starting to merge into one. Are they ready yet? Or would a temporary greenhouse be a suitable half-way house?!

I carefully gather the pots, cartons, and glass jars to take into the garden. I’m super proud of myself for managing to keep them alive. I have a small sense that perhaps an inner gardener is starting to grow.

With only a very small amount of organic compost to hand and the hard, solid ground that would take some sort of industrial piece of machinery to loosen, I realise that my vegetable patch is nowhere near ready to start sowing outdoors. I have started to grow all this produce and have nowhere to put it!

I cannot leave the seedlings to suffocate one another as they fight to be the strongest seed in the egg box. I grab some of the old garden pots which I found when clearing out my patch; they were smothered in slug trails and creepy collections of spider webs that joined the pots together. I give them a shake and scream when a spider scuttles out, heading straight for me. In fright, I drop the pots down on the grass. I see them lie there, sun worn, some with cracks now inhabited by a menagerie of mini-beasts. I let the spider run off into the grass and leave at least five minutes before picking up the pots again.

Separating each pot, I give them a gentle tap on the ground letting the rest of my evicted tenants run free to the ‘untamed’ garden to find new homes.

Once the pots are creature and cobweb free, I rinse them out as I am not sure if it makes a difference as to what was in them before? I clean them using warm water to get rid of any pesticide or chemical residue that may have been lingering in them from years ago. Did you know that supermarkets sell plants in cheap chemical-filled compost to make them look artificially at their best so we buy them? Saddened by this thought and realising I too was a consumer of quick buys and bargains; I need to redeem myself and change my old ways! I am already feeling and seeing the benefits of that extra care that goes into organic gardening. I am in week four and I love it already.

With all my seedlings lined up, I question how on earth am I going to separate all of these without a.) squishing them or b.) ripping the tiny roots, they seem too fragile. I read pricking out and potting up.

Feeling more informed, but still nervous, I take to pricking out the seedlings and putting two or three in a slightly bigger pot, so now I have time to prepare my veg beds. Success! They are all lined up in different pots. They look so skinny in their new homes. Like a worried parent, I wonder if they will be okay in this harsh world overnight! Anxiously, I wake, and before I even consider breakfast I go outside to check. Ah, relief! They are there just as I left them. Standing tall (well, three centimetres) and stretching their leaves in the sunlight without fighting off four or five other seedlings. I make a note that I need to be a little less seed sowing happy next time I sow, as I don’t have space and I certainly don’t want to waste anything. In the meantime, I count 35 happy tomato plants!

I will definitely gift some to the neighbours, the least I could do after startling them last week with my frantic bin rummaging antics!

More about Julie...

Julie Walton-Evans is our new Marketing Officer here at Garden Organic, her background is from a line of work in various charity sectors. She enjoys nature and travel has been a huge part of her life. Julie is still very new to the organic scene. She lives in Coventry with her partner and has a garden of their own and with the inspiration taken from her father as a writer as well as the passionate culture of Garden Organic, she thinks there is no better time to start to grow and share her story with you.

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