Sunday, February 5, 2012

our homestead: It's seed starting time

The collection of seeds I've managed to build up already

It may still be winter, but I've been planting seeds just the same...indoors. A lot of seed packets mention the alternative option to direct sowing as starting the seeds "indoors 4-6 weeks before the last frost". That's now. I've had different experiences with plants as to whether they do best started early on the windowsill or sown in the garden bed. And again, starting plants early inside means you'll have a mini-plant to transplant out instead of having them sprout out of the soil. Tomatoes, peppers, eggplants and melons are nearly impossible to grow for harvest in the Pacific Northwest unless they are started indoors. I haven't had luck with starting kale and winter squash indoors...both seemed to be stronger and grow faster when grown outside and even eclipsed their seed-flat brothers. I was always told that sunflowers weren't good to start inside, but I did notice they "took off" last year just fine. I've bought carrot and celery starts from the farmers market which did very well. My brussel sprouts and marigolds started inside did great once transplanted out: I still have sprouts to munch on and my marigolds kept producing a vibrant show of  flowers the entire summer.
My seed starting lair
So far, I've seeded out in flats the following: "Little Bells" sweet peppers, "Rubine" brussel sprouts, broccoli, "Cupid Pink" sweet pea flowers, "Lime Green" nicotiana flowers, "Cherry Fall" tomatoes and of course, the tomatoes I started about a month ago. I've been using a fold down table in my basement to seed my flats. I fill each flat with organic starting mix and then drill an equally spaced series of holes in each, depending on the required planting depth of the different seed varieties. I carefully place each seed in its spot and then gently cover them. 
Creating planting holes for my seeds
"Little Bells" sweet pepper seeds all in place
I've moved all my seed flats upstairs next to the sunniest windows (either south or east facing), except for my sweet peas which are down in the dark basement pantry to germinate (their special requirement). I'm keeping them well watered everyday and I'm looking forward to seeing more little "green noses" peeping out of the soil soon.
Two brussel sprout flats hanging out by the dining room table
Nicotiana flowers, broccoli and evergreen and brandywine tomatoes in the livingroom window
My seed shangri-la in the front bedroom
Cherry fall tomatoes, the peppers and more brussel sprouts and brandywine tomatoes here

No comments:

Post a Comment