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Time to start seeeeeeeeeeeds


Here I am, a stir crazy parent with stir crazy kids, waiting patiently for spring and for the phone to ring with people wanting their landscape designs drawn.  In the meantime, I'm itching to start some seeds to entertain myself and the girls and get us out of our winter funk. 

Of course we moved to a new home since last time we did this, so had to dig out all our supplies from various stockpiles stashed around the farm buildings and get re-organized (thank you to my Hubby for helping me get my sh*t together, as usual). In case you are interested in an idea for setting up something for yourself to start seeds, I thought I would share the very basic setup in our basement to show how easily it can be done.  It is right near the utility sink for water, and floor drain for drainage from flats while watering (drainage is important!). Although my upstairs has more natural light, I can only imagine kiddos and dogs dumping out flats of soil and seedlings in my kitchen....yeah, the basement is the better choice at our house.

The setup: Two sawhorses and a sheet of plywood covered in plastic to make a table, a shop light on a rope. Ta da!
That's right, a plain old fluorescent light ballast from Menards. Not fancy, but it works for us! I'm planning to get another one or two lights before I start more seeds.
A super-scientific pulley and clip rope system for lowering/raising light. Physics at its best, people.
Get yourself a timer, unless you have a better memory than me. My seed table lights are set to be on from 6 AM to 8 PM each day. 
Most importantly, get yourself an enthusiastic helper.
Yesterday, March 5th, we seeded our coolest season crops, those that can be transplanted outside roughly 4 weeks before the last frosts in the spring (so around mid-April here)::

Cabbage Nero Di Toscana (Dinosaur Kale)
Kale Scarlet
Cabbage Greyhound
Leek Autumn Giant
Onion Southport White Globe
Onion Crimson Frost Bunching
Pansy Laura

I ordered many of my seeds this year from Baker Creek Heirloom Seed, a supplier carrying many heirloom varieties that I have never heard of before, although our Grandparents' generation probably grew a bunch of them. What's old is new again. The Baker Creek catalog it is a feast for the eyes and also a nice reference tool about different varieties. I swear I don't work for them, I just liked it. Also I like Seed Savers Exchange, and I've heard good things about High Mowing Organic Seed. And in a pinch, I admit I'll still buy a few seeds at Menards or wherever, as I am not strictly organic (yet). I do have an ice cream bucket of seeds left over from last year that I took inventory of before ordering, so we're going to have quite the variety of product in our garden this year. Provided I create a new garden plot, that is. That's another job for another day.

*Updated 3/7/15
Of course you can go much more high tech on your seed starting than I. Some seeds benefit from bottom heat under their flats, and you can buy special electric heating mats (waterproof) for just this purpose. I don't. You may buy a fancy growing rack with shelves if you don't have a spot to tuck away a makeshift less than beautiful plywood table. I don't. My main tips are use clean potting soil, put your lights as close to your seed trays as possible (raising them as seedlings grow), and keep moist but don't overwater or you may get fungal problems that destroy all your hard work and fun. A fan can help with air circulation to prevent fungal problems too. I don't use one. It's all a grand experiment, just like life. 

Watered, covered, lit. Now we wait. Sigh.


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