Blog: Being a neurotic gardener

Last updated 09:48 19/11/2012

I have decided that growing vegetables in spring is definitely more rewarding than in winter.

Everyday it seems like a new seedling has popped up, a new flower has appeared on my strawberry plants or my beans are a lot taller.

It has also been great watching the seeds I sowed a couple of weeks ago appear out of the soil.

I can remember doing small gardening projects at primary school. Things like drawing a smiley face on an egg shell and growing cress from seeds as its hair. Or learning about where vegetables came from by planting a bean seed and watching it grow into a plant, flower and fruit.
However, I don’t remember it being as fascinating as it is now.

Firstly, I’m not sure I’m doing it right.

I thought it couldn’t be that hard to grow veges right from seed. I was wrong. I worry more about whether my seeds are doing all right than what I should wear or eat.
I’m scared I’m not watering them enough, or too much. Or they don’t get enough sun.

Beans plantsThe worst plants are my beans. Three of them have come up with the seed attached to the stem. I wonder if I possibly didn’t plant them deep enough, or is this normal? One of the beans now has nice big leaves and looks like the seedlings I got from the garden centre. However, the others are quite leggy. 

I asked my mother about this and she had me on about putting the seed in upside down. It took me a good five minutes to figure out she was joking. I even complained that most seeds are round so how is someone supposed to know how they went in.

Does anyone have some great tips on how to care for seedlings?

Secondly, I love that different way the plants grow. The beans have just shot up and I even planted one out into a bigger pot this week. However, the herbs and lettuce have just put out little leaves and are slowly growing stronger. I don’t think they will be ready to plant for a while yet though. The dill especially as they have only just poked their heads above the soil.

Seeds vs Seedlings:

- I personally believe there’s no real benefit to be gained from growing veges only from seeds or only from seedlings. A combination of the both is probably the best. Seeds for variety and seedlings if you are short on space.

- Sowing seeds is definitely the cheaper option. There is a wider variety of seeds available so you can grow vegetables you wouldn’t normally find in the supermarket or farmers market. However, if you are limited for space a packet of 100 seeds is going to be wasted as you won’t use more than 10 and they do go off.

- Purchasing seedlings an easier option if you are limited for space. You only buy what you’re going to use and they are ready to go straight in the ground or a pot. If you are looking for the best seedlings, look under the benches – they are often a week or so younger and will cope with a couple of weeks in their pots before you plant them out. However, there is often a lack of variety.

StrawberriesPS: My potatoes and strawberries have taken off in the last few days. Buds are beginning to appear on the potato plants which mean it’s not that long until harvesting time. Here’s hoping there are potatoes in the soil! I currently have 57 (yes I counted) strawberry flowers on my plants and more are appearing everyday. Two are ahead of the rest and looking yummy.

PPS: Does any one want to start a seed-swapping club? Something like everyone buys a packet of seeds, you all meet up and do a huge swap. That way you could end up with 100 seeds of all shapes and sizes rather that 100 seeds you are never going to use.

- If you any great tips or questions, or if you keen to become involved with seed-swapping club, leave a comment below or email

- The Wellingtonian


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