If this were true, I’d be in real trouble. I’m an incurable seed watcher. From the very first morning after I bury them in their little flats and tin cans, I’m spying on them. I’m lifting up the saran wrap that’s supposed to keep in the soil moisture (but admittedly doesn’t work so well if you remove it every ten seconds). I’m squinting at miniscule mounds of dirt: was that there yesterday? Did a germinating seed push that up? What about that little white thing over there? No, I guess that’s just a tiny rock. Or that? No, just an old root poking up at a purposely deceptive angle.
Every year, I’m convinced that seeds will have now evolved the capacity to germinate at twice their previous speed. It hasn’t happened yet, but when it does, I certainly don’t intend to miss it.
So I keep my seeds nearby. On my desk, actually. Right next to my laptop. And after every sentence I write, I peek over and reexamine the bumps and the nooks and crannies for some sign that something in there is alive. That the seed company didn’t decide this year to sell me a packet of sawdust, meticulously molded and dyed to resemble onion seeds. (My seed company would never do this, but don’t you ever wonder about those seeds at the big chain stores? If they don’t come up, people are just going to assume they were doing something wrong. They’re not going to go back to Home Depot and demand a refund. Don’t tell me you think no one has thought of preying on the beginning gardener’s self-doubt.)
This year, of course, I had an excuse for my hyper-vigilance. I was growing several species I’d never planted before. And thus, who knew? Maybe they would be the sorts of things to sprout overnight! Well, not quite. But the first poppies and onions did emerge on Day 4. The feverfew on Day 5. The holy basil on Day 6. And the roselle on Day 7. The only thing that has yet to make an appearance is the lovage, and it’s only Day 8, so I’m only worrying a little about the sawdust at this point.
Now that the seeds are up and growing, though, it’s time to think about getting them what they need on a daily basis. They’re going to need water, of course. Once or twice a day depending on how sunny it is. I keep a water bottle always filled on my desk for this purpose. They’re also going to need as much light as possible. Some people supplement window light with artificial grow lights. I haven’t had much success with that, so my preference is to keep them in a southeast-facing window in the morning and then move them to a southwest-facing window for the afternoon. I also plan to get out the reflectors I used last year. They’re just pieces of cardboard covered with aluminum foil, but when placed behind the plants (on the side away from the window), they almost double the amount of light the plants get.
I hope everyone else is having as much fun as I am admiring their new babies!
P.S. That basil in the picture is not the holy basil I just planted last week. It’s Sweet Genovese basil, and it’s been going since at least early November.