Saturday, March 31, 2012

Seed Nursery at “Elizabeth’s Secret Garden” 2012


Starting plants from seed is one of the most rewarding things in gardening. Seeing a seedling push itself up through the dirt has never lost its excitement for me. Every new seedling is a victory. My first time starting most of my vegetables from seeds was in the fall.

This year the vegetables are even more productive. I have had only one pest problem this year which was a cutworm hiding around the dirt of my eggplant. It was relentless as it consumed the leaves. I have found that starting plants early and keeping them in the seed greenhouse above, gives me a head start so that by the time the pests really get bad, the plants can fight back. It also makes it easier for the plant to recover while a small plant would be quickly defoliated. 


This tomato seed has just reached the surface.

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It  took five weeks for my tomatoes to reach transplanting size (see tomato flower in right corner). A good tip is to cut toilet paper rolls in half and use it as a collar to help protect plants from cutworms. This is especially helpful for tomatoes and eggplant. One of my squash plants was badly chewed up at the stem, but to my amazement its stem fibers repaired itself, but it still has a scar. After using the toilet paper method, none of the other squashes have been damaged.

squash veggie

My first squash! It is so exciting to see the first vegetables begin to develop. I have a good head start this year since our Florida winter was short and I started many of the plants in the seed greenhouse.


After using my pots, I like to sanitize them with some Green Works soap and water in a large bucket. It does take a bit of elbow grease, but is worth it if it saves seedling from a host of fungal disease. I mainly do this for seed trays. I don’t worry as much if I’m just transplanting a larger plant.


These carrots were ready to pick after the light frosts helped to make them sweeter. I planted more this spring, but they are not doing as well as my fall carrots did.

carrot resized

Lots of times I have way more fun gardening then you’d think. I can spend hours gardening and before I know it, two hours have gone by. The picture above is one of the “rarities” my garden has produced. It is a Siamese carrot with style and a love for the beach.

Collard Madness

Having fun with GIANT collard leaves.


I hope this entry has inspired you to start your own garden as you begin the journey towards a more sustainable life style. I am so happy with the results that my raised beds have provided. I am using the square foot gardening method which involves marking off square feet with twine. I hope you enjoy the same success this year. If you have any questions, just send me a comment.


  1. Very inspiring indeed! I never thought about using paper cardboard rolls for gardening. Some of my small plants need stem support and now I know just what to help them with! Elizabeth, may I ask what is the benefit of "square foot method"? THANKS AGAIN FOR YOUR WONDERFUL POST! Arlene

    1. For me, square foot gardening helps to keep the garden more organized. My herb box is marked off with twine for each square and they each contain a different herb. This makes it easier to keep things neat by pruning the individual plants to keep them contained within the square. Using raised bed along with this method helps me to keep the bed well weeded. Some square can have 4 or more plants when using small lettuce varieties like tom thumb. Even more can be contained in a square when growing carrots or onions. Happy gardening!