Kohlrabi! or, Seedlings When You Don’t Have a Yard

Spring has sprung! The birds are singing, the trees are growing leaves, and Liz is belatedly starting her seedlings.

I have a strong love for growing things. Something about coaxing a seed to grow into a strong, leafy plant is so satisfying to me. I’m not exactly a great gardener — I forget to water things, I place plants in the wrong environment, I don’t prune effectively (or at all), fertilizer is hit or miss — but it’s still a hobby I enjoy. It’s also one that is entirely too easy to sink a boatload of money into.

Back in January I visited a bar with my husband. Someone there had brought a box of the previous year’s seeds. They couldn’t be sold normally, being old stock, so they were free for the taking. I went a little nuts. SO MANY SEEDS! FOR FREE! It’s just so exciting. So, this year, I told myself I would limit my spending: I have seeds, I have pots, I don’t need much else.

So instead of lots of store-grown plants, I bought only two (a tiny serissa because it was cute and a basil because lots of basil is good). Only one bag of seeds, for red ruffled eggplant (because I want a pumpkin on a stick). I also got Jiffy-Strips pots, plastic trays to hold said pots, seed-starting dirt, rooting hormone, and a heat mat for starting some of the seeds. With so many free seeds, I got a small fortune in Jiffy-Strips to start all the seedlings. The Jiffy-Strips were necessary because the paper pots just didn’t work the way I wanted. So much for a cheap garden this year!

I started out by soaking the first batch of seeds I wanted to plant. This included cucamelon (also called mouse melon or Mexican sour gherkin), zucchini, dill, parsley, kohlrabi, red ruffled eggplant, and calendula (sometimes called pot marigold.) The soaking was strongly recommended in the case of the parsley. With the other seeds being older and getting a late start, I thought a soaking might help them as well.

Seeds Soaking
(Top, L-R) Cucamelon, dill, parsley (Bottom, L-R) Cucamelon, zucchini, calendula

I actually started two different of cucamelon seeds. One was from the free seeds from the bar, while the other was left from some I bought last year. I originally thought to combine the two sets, but they almost look like two different kinds of plants.

Size Disparity
Etsy seeds vs professional seeds. The rightmost seed is about the size of a sesame seed.

After draining the seeds and filling the pots with dirt, most of the seeds got planted. However, I kept discovering that I didn’t have enough pots for all the seeds — seed packets plant a lot! So, several trips to the store for extra pots later, I finally got most of the seeds planted (I still need to plant the parsley seeds.)

Of course, it was only after soaking the seeds that I realized that the package of kohlrabi seeds was enough to plant three ten-foot rows of kohlrabi. To make it worse, the seeds were starting to sprout after only six hours in the water! I couldn’t fail my hundreds of brand new baby plants. That was another round of extra pots. Long story short, I planted eighty-four little pots of kohlrabi. And every single pot has already sprouted.

My lovely husband offered to help me clear the bay window in our apartment to be a south-facing plant home. He picked up a roll of thick plastic from the hardware store to line it. Several layers thick, it should protect the carpet from any stray moisture that may come from the plants.

Window
Window with plastic and one tray situated
Trays
I’m already out of room for trays

Unfortunately, I have run out of room on the windowsill. I haven’t even started the dozen or so other packets of seeds that I could grow. And yes, the kohlrabi are all so happy.

Kohlrabi Wednesday afternoon
So very happy as of yesterday evening

 

I actually hope that the seeds I purchased this year sprout. Even if they don’t, I will have a small mountain of kohlrabi plants to share with friends, neighbors, and anyone who stands still long enough to be handed a plant. I’m not sure if the sharing justifies the money I’ve spent on a bunch of free seeds, but maybe I can make someone’s day nonetheless.

So… who wants a kohlrabi?

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