Planting Seeds for Summer, a Guest Post from an Apartment Gardener

These are tomato plants and one egg plant in the middle growing on a sunny windowsill.
These are tomato plants and one egg plant in the middle growing on a sunny windowsill.

Another guest post from Janet Pecorari, who lives in a second floor apartment with a small balcony. This does not stop her from being a keen indoor and outdoor gardener. This post is about growing parsley from seed. It could be adapted for other seeds such as the tomato and egg plants in the photograph. There will be another guest post next week about more vegetable growing, still in containers, but using seedlings not seeds.

People losing their vision might think they will not be able to enjoy gardening. Jan proves them wrong. Here’s what she says:

The  sun, the pot and the dirt

I brought in a pot of dirt that had wintered outside on the balcony. This is beneficial, for the cold no doubt killed off any bacteria or other things which may have sought refuge. My pot is round and probably 14 inches across. I brought this pot and its drainage catcher into my bedroom where I get bright sun from 7:30-11:00 each morning. [Editor’s note: If your window gets sun in the afternoon, and now the sun is getting hot, you may need to remove the plastic, mentioned below in the greenhouse effect, some of the time, or the  seeds might get cooked!]

 

Planting the seeds and watering

I loosened the dirt with my fingers until it was well broken. I pinched parsley seeds from the envelope and scattered them around the pot. What I do is pinch seeds between my index finger and thumb and then slowly turn them loose into the pot while circling my hand. I do this maybe two or three times. It is a nice scattering, and they will come up all over the pot. Then I very lightly tapped the dirt down so that it still remained relatively loose. I filled a bottle of tepid water and grabbed my flat Rubbermaid colander. I held it over the pot and poured water through it while making a circling motion around the pot for maximum “sprinkled” coverage.

The greenhouse effect

Finally, I opened a dry cleaning plastic garment bag and pulled it over the pot, so the sun and the moisture will create a greenhouse effect to speed the germination of those little darlings.

As the parsley seedlings begin to grow I spray them with a fine mister and then cover the pot again with the dry cleaning bag. I just checked it and it is sweating nicely on the inside of the bag and over the pot. This also results in moisture dripping down and into the pot, further keeping them moist. They require the sun to germinate. I do uncover the pot for I don’t want mold to grow. Tomorrow I may leave them uncovered for the day and if I know the following day the sun will shine, I will water and then cover the pot again.

 

Combing out  but not separating

I will allow them to grow until such time as they begin to tangle into each other. At that point I will use a hair styling pic or afro comb because the tines are nicely spaced apart. I gently insert the tines near the dirt and lift upward; all the while giving just a little jiggle motion to separate the plants. This I continue to do as needed because parsley will droop when watered and tangle with the other plants.

I do not separate the plants. They are in my opinion delicate things and I scatter seeds so that they are close together, but not on top of each other.

 

Freezing a Parsley ball

I generally harvest some at two feet to rinse and then freeze. I read that if you rinse the plants, roll them into a tight ball, and then freeze them, you only need take the frozen ball out, cut the amount you wish with a pair of scissors, and then return the ball to the freezer.

 

 Useful websites

 How to Grow Container Herbs

This next one seems to be intended for kids, but it is detailed and accurate:

 Starting Herbs from Seed

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