Before this post, I’ve never grown anything. My only gardening history is from last year when I bought a flower from Lowe’s and tried to not kill it… well, it was supposed to be a flower… but it never lived that long. Now that Sean and I have been focusing on eating local, I’ve wanted more than ever to be able to grow my own vegetables. So I decided to pick one vegetable to grow from seed this year. A vegetable that could grow in a container too; we rent a townhouse so as much as I wish I could have a nice garden in the backyard I will make-do with container gardening. I did a bunch of Googling on the easiest vegetables to grow from seed… and zucchini was the lucky winner.
So on March 11th I planted 20 zucchini seeds in little Jiffy Pots. I wrapped them up in plastic wrap to keep them warm and moist and crossed my fingers. I planted 20 seeds because I was expecting with my
lack-of-a-green-thumb, only one or two of those would actually sprout. Boy was I wrong! Four days later I had my first three seedlings, and the next day I had another six! As the zucchini seedlings started to show I unwrapped the plastic wrap and set them in a sunny place in the house. On weekends when I was home during the day I would set the seedlings outside to soak in the nice NC sun. When their potting mix looked dry I would lightly water the surface of the potting mix with a spray bottle and pour some water in their tray so the roots could soak it up. I also had a rotating fan lightly blowing on the seedlings every so often; I read somewhere that it imitates the wind and makes their stems stronger, giving them a better chance of survival when you transplant them outdoors.
Ten days after sowing my seeds, and after spending a little-too-much time Googling zucchini, I had 13 seedlings. (That’s an impressive 65% success rate for anyone who was wondering!) Growing something from seed is very rewarding. I’m not going to lie, I became a little obsessed with my zucchini seedlings. They were just so damn cute and I really really didn’t want to kill them
You are supposed to transplant the seedlings when they get their first “true leaves”. Apparently the first two leaves you see are the seedlings leaves, and after that they are the “true leaves”. It was obvious when the first true leaf showed on the seedlings, it had a different texture and color. Some of the seedlings roots even started growing through my Jiffy Pot by that point – next time I would use a bigger starting pot for the seeds. So on day 12 I decided it was time to transplant my zucchini seedlings into their containers and set them outside for good. I choose the 2 best looking zucchini seedlings, gave a few to a friend, and shed a tear as I said good-bye to the least healthy seedlings – natural selection is cruel. I transplanted each seedling in their own large plastic gardening container. I read not to use any kind of potting mix that contains soil because the soil doesn’t allow water to drain well in the container, so I went to the local gardening store and bought some Conrad Fafard Professional Potting Mix. It appears to be working well? … but seriously, sometimes I have no clue what I’m doing and I guess
The night before I transplanted my 2 seedlings I made a homemade garlic-pepper spray to spray on my seedlings to keep off caterpillars, slugs and other hungry critters. This stuff seriously reeks, but it definitely works. I boiled 3 c of water and added to that 1/2 diced red onion, 2 tbsp of crushed garlic & 1/2 tbsp of cayenne pepper and covered it and let it sit overnight (outside that is, because it stunk). The next day I strained out the onions and funneled the liquid into a spray bottle. I spray the tops and bottoms of my plant’s leaves with the spray after I water them or after it rains, and I always use the spray at night; during the testing-stage, I accidentally sprayed a leaf during the day with the stuff and the combination of the spray and sun scorched the leaf a bit.
So as of today, April 9th, it is 30 days after sowing my zucchini seeds. And my zucchini plants are looking great! As you can see some of the leaves look a little torn up… we’ve had some hail in NC unfortunately. But I’m not too concerned, it’s been over a week since they took on their slight hail damage and they seem to be doing just fine. I’ve heard vegetables plants are pretty resilient to hail damage, so I’m just going to keep a close eye on them.
My plants each have their 2 seedling leaves, 4-5 true leaves and are even starting to bud! I can’t wait to see a zucchini flower; I think it will be one of this summer’s Top 10 moments for me.
For now, that’s all on my zucchini adventures. I’ve read a few other people’s blogs on their adventures in container gardening and I found everything to be so helpful, so I figured I would contribute my experiences. Hopefully you feel inspired now and want to grow zucchini