I gave you an update yesterday about our garden plans. Today, I’m back to share our seed-starting ideas.
When we decided to go over-the-top with the garden, we knew we couldn’t purchase plants from the garden center for everything, It would cost a small fortune and would also seriously limit what we could grow.
So, we went back to our seed-starting roots and decided to try our hand at it again. We’re focusing on starting seeds for the plants we’ve had success with in the past. (We’ll be starting seeds for all the peppers, tomatoes, eggplants and herbs. I’m also going to start cucumbers and squash to see if they’ll hold up to transplanting and give them a head-start.)
Here’s how we are handling seed-starting.
To begin, I made a detailed schedule of when seeds should be started and put the dates in my calendar. The dates vary based on the type of plant and your frost-free date. I’ll be starting seeds from early March to early April (I use the calculator at A Way to Garden.) After buying the seeds I needed, I organized my seed packets in plastic bags labeled with the date they need to be started. This will make the process a bit simpler for me.
Because we’re growing more plants than ever, I’m using pretty much every container I can get my grubby paws on. I didn’t want to buy a lot of stuff, so I’ve been saving egg cartons, milk jugs and yogurt cups. I also always hoard planters when I buy plants in a garden center. Between all of these containers, I should be good to go.
For the first week, I also started the seeds of some flowers to see how it goes. It’s all a giant experiment up in here.
After planting the seeds, I left them in our dining room covered until they sprout. It allows me to check on them and keep them out of direct light. It’s also a bit warmer upstairs. We’ll move them under the lights when they sprout. (I sure hope they sprout.)
Ryan helped me set up a little grow station in the basement. It’s nothing fancy – a few shop lights that lower on chains (each with a warm and cool bulb), a tarp for any spillage and a timer to get 14-16 hours of light each day. We have $40 or so in the set-up. (Psst: The lights had a great rebate at Menards so we ended up getting some of our money back.)
We have tried growing in windows before and it’s just not ideal. Having this set-up makes it much more likely that we’ll see success. It also allows the plants to be out of the way and gives us more room to spread out. (If you are interesting in learning about seed-starting from experts, read about seed-starting at Old World Garden Farms and Enjoying the Harvest. There are some really great details about lights and set-up.)
Ryan has been growing trees for the property for the past year and he recently moved the seedlings under the lights. We can’t believe how much better they are growing already. (Note: The light should typically be 1-2 inches away from the plants. It just wasn’t in these pictures.)
It’s fun to see a plan come together, and I’m excited for our new seed-starting adventures.
Who else is starting seeds this year?