Slice of Life /24 – Gardening in the Basement

Growing plants in the northern states of North America is always a challenge. The IMG_5998.jpegnative or perennial plants are great. They do their own thing. They know when to start, flower and seed. It is the plants we wish to bring into this cold climate that make things a bit more difficult. The plants that need long growing seasons to flower or the veggies that we love to eat directly from our garden are the issue.

I have been watching lots of gardeners across the country and they have these large beautiful plants ready to head outdoors and into the ground. Well, that just does not happen that quickly up here. We are still watching the snow melt. So I am like the many other gardeners around me – I have lots of tiny little plants in my basement under lights.

They are slowly making their way out of the soilless mixture and reaching for the light. They look like there will be lots of plants but when I take stock of what is really growing me are missing plants. This would not be a big deal except that I took on the role of family garden nursery this year. I have four family members who are excitedly waiting for plants from me for their gardens.

I was super excited about this – I love starting plants. I love giving plants to others so what could go wrong? The what can go wrong is the germination rate of the seed I IMG_7055.jpgplanted. Some of the seed is old and may just not be viable – other seed is new and so I am unsure what the issue is for those seeds.

I am now in the waiting game – do I wait to see if these other seeds will come up? Do I replant with new seed? The replant with new seed seems like the thing to do but last year I did that and ended up with plants everywhere. People were beginning to run away from me as I approach with yet another tomato plant. You see those of us who are crazy gardeners have a hard time throwing away a healthy plant.

IMG_7054.jpgI know my family will not yell at me for plants that did not grow but I also don’t want to disappoint them. Funny I know – I am frustrated and a bit worried but you know what – I am loving it! This kind of stress I can handle, this problem solving keeps my brain going in positive ways, this sorting of details and numbers of plants growing and not growing is a great distraction from some other parts of my life that are super hard and I have no control over.

I have control over these plants to some degree. If they don’t grow I replant – it is as easy as that!

So here is to spring! To growing in the northland! and finding healthy distractions when needed!

Here is an image from last summer – this is what we are moving towards – strong, green leaves with small flowering buds!  A summer garden!




About Joanne Toft

I am a retired Minneapolis Public School teacher. I walk, garden, care for my Grandson and write. Life is good!
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5 Responses to Slice of Life /24 – Gardening in the Basement

  1. Jaana says:

    Wow! I admire your tenacity! I like starting new plants from my indoor ones, but you really have a nursery in your basement. Happy harvesting this fall!

  2. Tracy Brosch says:

    Love! We just moved out aquaponic set up back outside this weekend, which means we had a great harvest of kale from the winter, and now I have my grow light back to start seeds! Yes! Here’s to spring!

  3. arjeha says:

    Growing plants from seeds takes patience – something I totally lack. I do marvel at how one tiny seed can produce a lovely bloom or something good to eat. Good luck with your garden.

  4. Wonderful! I love your connection to plants and Mother Nature – who has an internal clock affected by no one and nothing. I sympathize with your disdain for tossing aside a healthy plant – it is a heart wrenching task for me when thinning plants in my garden. How can I decide who stays and who goes?

  5. Trina Haase says:

    Oh good for you for starting up your plants in the basement! I have always wanted to start plants this way and have never tried it…

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