While I did pretty well with the little seedlings, the true test of any presence of a green thumb has begun. On Thursday, I transplanted all the little plants from the indoor seedling planter to the new hanging planters on the balcony. I got it done but it wasn't pretty. There was dirt everywhere as I tried to get the little plants out of the containers. There was also way too many basil plants to put in the planter with the other herbs I'm hoping to grow.
But this is my first time attempting to garden from seedling to full grown plant in a container garden - so I'm giving myself a little slack from my usual need for perfection.
Two things I've learned so far:
1) Don't plant multiple seeds in the little containers. They will grow so you don't need to hedge your bets by planting a bunch.
2) Read the seed packages carefully for how far apart the plants need to be planted. It doesn't matter as much when you have a decent swath of dirt in the ground to work with - but when dealing with containers on a balcony, you can't really keep plants 12 inches apart.
As you may have guessed, I learned these things by doing them.
To illustrate number 1: I have too many little plants of thyme and chives growing in clusters. Not only was I unable to delicately separate them but there also wasn't a lot of room for tons of them in the planter.
To illustrate number 2: The basil seed packet says the little plants should be planted 12" apart. That just isn't possible given that the planters are only 36" or so long. So they are planted into one end of the planter in a cluster - and because I had a bunch of seedlings left over, I planted those in a cluster in a small flower pot. This was mostly done so I didn't have to throw out any unused plants and also in case the ones in the planter don't make it.
One other thing I learned is that I am not a delicate gardener. There was dirt everywhere as I was transplanting. Though I was trying to be gentle and precise when planting in the containers, the little plants are in more of an abstract pattern than anything logical.
But again - I'm cutting myself some slack with this first time gardening experiment. Even if it doesn't turn out to be the lush container garden I envision in my head, it has been a lot of fun to watch the little seeds grow into green, living plants.