Back in January, at seed-ordering time, I wasn’t sure if my plan for extending the vegetable garden by 1200 sq. ft. in one season was going to be feasible. Since I dig a new bed three times in order to kill the sod, that’s a lot of hand digging. But it turned out we had a lot of fine weather this spring, and I actually managed to add something like 1600 sq. ft. to the garden. Which meant I had a little wiggle room, and maybe I could plant a few more of the things I’ve been especially interested in this year. So I rewarded my digging efforts by starting two more pots of ground cherries, two more Thai Red roselle, and one more each of my new varieties of heirloom tomato: Eva Purple Ball and Old German.
I wrote a post back in January about how I’m an incurable seed watcher (see “A Watched Seed Never Sprouts?“), and how I’m always convinced there’s something terribly wrong and my seeds aren’t going to sprout at all. You know the saying, “It’s not paranoia if they’re really out to get you”? Well, apparently I’m not paranoid, because this batch of seeds did not sprout. Actually, two of the three Eva Purple Ball tomato seeds I planted sprouted, but nothing else came up. I’ve waited hopefully for two entire weeks–twice the time it ought to take them to appear–but no. Zilch.
So what explains this mysterious phenomenon, when all of my other seed-starting efforts this year have turned out marvelously? I have a couple of theories. The first has to do with the fact that I planted these seeds in soil I’d previously used for asparagus. These are the pots where the asparagus didn’t germinate, and maybe it didn’t germinate for a reason. Like some sort of soil-borne disease that prevents germination. Don’t know. My other theory–and this one seems more likely to me–is that the soil in these pots was just too wet. I had been watering it frequently in an effort to coax some life into my asparagus seeds, and even though I didn’t water again after planting the ground cherries, etc., maybe the soil was saturated to the point of inhibiting germination. This theory seemed to be confirmed when today I finally dumped my sterile pots of soil back into the garden. They were so wet they were almost soupy at the bottom.
Believing I’ve learned my lesson, I tried again today. I mixed up some new potting soil (2 parts soil to 1 part compost, with a little organic fertilizer thrown in). I planted my seeds, and I did not water, even though the soil seems on the dry side. I just covered the pots with aluminum foil, and I really hope they’ll do their thing this time!