Planting

I got some seeds planted Tuesday, finally.

I had to do it on the kitchen table so I could work on it with little ones underfoot. I usually drag all my supplies to the basement and work there, but with kitty litter, lots of glass canning jars, etc., its not very kid friendly. The kitchen table was fine, and I was able to keep the mess to a minimum.

So, on Tuesday I planted:

  • Lettuce (a 5 seed blend)
  • Basil
  • Bloomsdale spinach 
  • Correnta spinach (new for me this year)
  • Red siberian kale (new for me this year)
  • Dwraf grey kale (new for me this year)
  • Packman broccoli
  • Pansies (new for me this year)

These were all seeds I got in bulk from a local garden store. I write little notes on the packets, like when they were bought, and how deep they should be planted.

My son helped me plant some of the seeds. He was very careful and tried to pick up only 1 seed at a time. I think his favorite part was sprinkling the soil on top of all the cells at the end, and getting to use the spray bottle to water them.

I usually use a special type of bagged potting soil that is designed specifically for seed starting, but this time I thought I would try to do a blend of regular potting soil and seed starting mix, to save a little bit on money. So I filled the bottom half of the cells with regular potting soil, and used the seeds starter mix on the top half. I’ll let you know how that works.

As I was working yesterday, I took a bottle of nail polish and marked red X’s on the sides of any of the trays that had holes in them. I want it to be really obvious which ones have holes. I had problems last year with dripping water from leaky trays and I’m trying to prevent future problems. Since I only have a few trays that are totally watertight, I am protecting them this year by nesting each of the good trays into one of the leaky trays. This makes the unit a lot sturdier when I am moving them around full of seedlings.

Below is a cell pack with one of my labels on it, but the glare from the window washed out the label. (I just cut up regular office supply store labels into little pieces and write with a ballpoint pen.) The label says “lettuce 2-7”. Sometimes it seems like a pain to have to label everything, but man does it help things later when you are transplanting. Also, if you are trying to figure out what is not germinating (I had problems with spinach last year) having labels is wonderful. The date also helps me keep track of things that I am planting in succession (mostly my greens).

Here are the seed trays downstairs, with the grow light set up above them. I turned the light on for the picture, but there’s no need to have the lights on right now, until the seeds germinate. I also had to remember to open the heater vent to this room so that it would be warm enough for the seeds to germinate. One of the bulbs in the this shop light ended up being burnt out, so I had to change that as well. Luckily, I had bought a few last year and already had some on hand.

The grow stand looks pretty bare so far, but soon it will be full of green. Its accumulating junk on it at a alarming rate, so I have to get it filled with seeds trays soon.

Don’t feel like you have to make a big investment to get started growing plants from seed.The grow stand components and my seed trays/cell packs were all free or nearly free. I have accumulated them over the last 4 years from various sources. (I stopped and asked complete strangers if I could have their leftover plastic gallon tubs sometimes-I needed them for transplanting my early tomatoes.) Before I had very many of them, I saved up yogurt and sour cream tubs and cut slits in the bottom of those and used them. I cut off the bottoms of washed out milk jugs to use as drip trays underneath them. They worked great, but it took a lot more seed starter mix to fill them than the slender cell packs I use now. Its nice to have my cell packs in uniform sizes at this point because each year my garden has expanded and I am to the point where space under the grow lights is at a premium by April.

Have you started any seeds yet? Are you trying out any new varieties this year?

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