Thursday, March 17, 2016

Starting Seeds

Oh, the excitement is mounting.  This will be the first year in a long time that I can go from starting seeds all the way to harvest and starting garlic in one place.  Aw, yeah.  This is truly my passion and I'm so looking forward to this year. I think the whole family is looking forward to it. Starting seeds, building treehouses to keep the littles busy while I (we) tend the garden, Maggie starting her flower business (Mags will be selling bouquets this year to start making her own money, Sarah might be too and helping sell duck eggs), putting soil on the garden, direct seeding and transplanting seedlings. Exciting!!

I will go into a little more detail next time on how I start seeds, but this is the gist of it. I intensively sow as many seeds as I want transplants in a small pot in soiless soil (two pots if I need a lot of seedlings). I use soiless soil so that I can easily pull apart plants and the seedlings don't have die off like they would with soil that could be carrying bacteria in it. I go by what the package says on the depth of planting, maybe a little less, I gently press the seeds into the soil and put as much soil on top for the depth. I then put them in a seed starting tray on top of my grow mat and cover them in plastic (clear or opaque is fine). The metal part that keeps the seed starting tray directly off the mat does not fit on these shelves so I used dowels to keep them above it. I also add shop lights (on a timer for 12 hours) just for the germination phase.
Here is what my seed starting tray first looks like after I put the seeds in the pots. All covered and cozy and making its own humidity.  I use a spray bottle to water and dampen any soil that is drying out (very important for starting seeds).  I also started some milkweed seeds Steve had and they need to be sprayed every day since they need to be sown on the surface and can dry out fairly quickly.
This tray includes snapdragon and statice seeds for Maggie's flowers, tomato seeds (roma, isis candy, and marglobe), milkweed, rudbeckia (goldilocks variety, my fave), and calendula (resina and zeolights). Resina calendula is really good for using in herbal salves, cream, lip balm, etc. In a couple weeks we will start basil and several others seeds that only need 4-6 weeks inside.
Little asparagus guys, so cute.
Onion transplants. I was overwhelmed with these so I decided I'd rather just direct seed onions like I have in the past compared to transplanting, too much work for just onions.  So, just one tray for these.  It will become easier with transplants in the future once we have a greenhouse in place because once it gets warm enough we'd be able to put them all out in a greenhouse within a few weeks to a month and use a hose to water and handle them outside.
Asparagus seedlings ready to transplant. Aren't they cute? I had never seen asparagus seeds so I was curious to try them (hey, for $1.50, experiment away, right?). They started as little spears and now they are ferning. Aw. And now that we have asparagus we won't need to do this again for 20-30 years, aw, yeah. We should get about 50 plants with all the transplants total. Totally awesome.

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