Many types of labels have little importance and there are others that do. In this particular case, it’s the labels that I should have used to identify the seeds that we planted for #GrowWithFFC .
Like most families in this day and age our schedules are full and busy. So much so that we laughingly-but-for real call ourselves the House of Chaos. Projects that require relatively short periods of time once all of the materials have been gathered, but require attention to detail tend to go awry either in small laughable ways, or catastrophically so. Thankfully experience and attention to detail now may just help everything work out.
When the kids and I planted the seeds for this project we overlooked the small but important step of labeling what went where. I know that there are 12 tomatoes but which are the cherry ones, which are the heritage ones, and which are the mainstay of lunch and dinner (and with the kids, snacks). And, of the remaining four, which two are the watermelons, and which two are the pumpkins?
Which is Which? Overlooked labels means we have a mystery. Guess ‘A’ for Pumpkins, ‘B’ for Watermelons in the comments and follow along to see if you were right!
Long ago, when I worked in a commercial greenhouse, a far more experienced grower would pass along growing hints if the mood was right. One that he shared has served me well over the years, and it’s quick and simple.
Start by making a quick sketch of the seed tray you are about to plant, indicating the number of rows and columns. As you plant your seeds, note the seed type and variety on the drawing.
To make sure that the information about what has been planted and where isn’t lost, a blank plant label is dropped into one end of the tray and noted on the drawing. When more than one tray is planted at a time, I’ll either note the tray number on the label, or put in multiple blanks. (One for tray one, two for tray two, and so on).
This little habit lets me keep track of what has been planted without having to label each and every seedling until they are transplanted and I’m able to work continuously without having to stop and wash my hands and work with markers and plastic labels between rows of seeds. Water, seedling media, plastic, and markers do not work well together. Additionally, it has the benefit of reducing the number of labels that are wasted due to potentially low germination rates, or having too many or too few seeds for the labels you’ve made.
Ninety-Nine times out of a hundred, this method works. Unfortunately, in our haste and in the kids’ effort to be helpful, we forgot the labels and as they were transported and put under the grow lights, the orientation of the seed tray got lost. So, now we are playing the mystery game of “Oooo, which one is that?”
The three varieties of tomatoes will prove to be more challenging to figure out, but thankfully, their growing requirements are similar and using past knowledge I *think* I’ve been able to sort them into groups based on their physical characteristics. It won’t be until they start producing fruit that we’ll be able to see if they were successfully identified. They are grouped in the top photo – see if you can spot the similarities between them.
In a way, it’s not unlike picking up an unlabeled plant that has been abandoned amongst a sea of tomatoes, taking it home and finding that it produces the most wonderful fruit, and who hasn’t experienced that before?
On my sketches, those are the ones that are labeled with a ‘?’. Hopefully they aren’t hybrids, and I’ll be able to enjoy those delicious ‘maters again.
Do you have any hints and hacks that you’ve developed over the years that you’d like to share – let me know in the comments, and they might be featured in a future post.
Until next time, may your knees be green and your spirits light.