Finally! I have had a spring when I could try the seeds I'd collected over many years (both gathered and purchased), plus some I ordered new.
Results? I was surprised at how good the germination rate was for seeds several years old. Those really old were dead, of course, which was sad because they included the pink tomatoes that a friend gave me. Her husband grew them in his organic garden. She is dead now several years and her husband has retired and moved back to Hawaii. I would love to have been able to keep his heirloom tomatoes going, but other things crowded them out of my life.
Of the new seeds: Perennial seeds, I've found, are tiny as dust and very tricky to start. From one pack, I have only two very tiny delicate little plants; I'm not sure they will make it.
After many years of collecting or buying special seeds and thinking, "This is the year I can start plants from seeds." - finally it has happened; it all came together. This spring there were no new grand babies I needed to go inspect nor new parents to support, no ill or dying parents, no trips I was required or expected to make for anyone else, and no real estate calls demanding my attention.
So after taking a little longer than usual to recover from the most recent trip (it took me about ten days to recover from a trip to Indiana, which isn't so far away - Fibromyalgia is "such fun" :) out came the seeds in almost-early-enough spring.
Started under lights in our small dining area, then hardened off in the garage and close to the house, the baby plants were not too much trouble to bring in and out as frost sat on us.
The small plants in small containers grew and were moved into larger containers - that took up more space. The old seeds tested in various low wide containers needed to be pricked out and each given its own little cell - oops! - trays of cell-packs take up more room than plastic, disposable Wendy's salad bowls with clear lids. And, so it went, more and more and more. Now at May 17, we are past our May 10th historic frost date for this county; frost is no longer the threat. The problem now is way too much rain!
I move everybody out to the fresh air and light.
It starts to rain.
I move everybody back in.
When it stops - out they go again.
And so it goes - sometimes three times a day (I am so weary of moving in and out, in and out, on and on), and guess what! Now there isn't enough room in the garage to get everyone inside even though some plants were planted into the ground and some given away to a neighbor and some to another friend or two.
So now, those left outside in days and days of rain are turning a sad yellow and brown. More need to go into the ground, I better get out there and get started, but I just remembered today is the day a new helper will arrive and needs to be given the orientation and training, so not much progress will get done, I'm afraid, and nothing will get planted. We'll see.
This view from the Garden Door in the garage shows various pots and trays placed in the sun or semi shade as required. It took watching to see they didn't wilt down with too much sun or needing a drink. I had to keep shifting them about as the sunny spots moved.
Containers were placed all along the edge of the back brick walkway.
This is turning left out the Garden Door going toward the Back Door steps and stoop.
The steps made handy "shelves" for morning sun and was conveniently near the garden hose.
The next view is what we would see if we had turned right out the Garden Door.
This is a good view of the half whiskey barrel that was planted with herbs.
A work table was covered each day which made hand watering easier with no bending over. Those that needed shade were put beneath this table and yard chairs and small tables. During the early spring while it was still quite cool, the black driveway asphalt helped keep them warm. As soon as the days grew warm, all of these had to be moved to the cooler back yard and back steps.
The garden cart made a helpful mobile holder. I could move it into, or out of, the sun, whichever was needed. Then at night it was rolled back into the garage. As soon as the weather was right, many were planted into the ground, then more small ones were put into the cart until they were large enough to pot up into larger pots and placed on the back steps.
As much attention as I gave them, there still were losses. I understand why plant nurseries are called, "nurseries". I felt I was in charge of many, many babies that had to have individual attention all day. I gave away as many plants as I could find homes for. It was fun loading down any takers and sending them home with boxes of plants. That made it worth all the trouble.