Springtime and Seeds

| 4/18/2018 9:48:00 AM

Tags: Springtime, seeds, starting seeds, gardening, Lydia Phipps,

Lydia PhippsMornin' friends! Come on in and sit a spell on the porch— let the spring sun warm you up and the breeze blow through your hair. It's a beautiful morning here on the farm, everything is coming alive with the arrival of spring. It's time!

I've been ready for spring to make her appearance since late winter. Back in January my parents bought me two mini greenhouse kits, some lettuce, cabbage, and Brussels sprouts seeds, and got me an almanac calendar. They know me all too well, and always support my love of all things gardening and farming. They are, after all, where that love comes from.

At a young age, my parents, along with my grandparents, started teaching me the importance being able to support myself, even if the things I needed weren't always readily available to me. They taught me to grow my own food — as well as how to preserve that food to be able to provide food for my family, throughout the year, even when the garden is gone (but that's another post).

Anyway, back to greenhouses. I have never started my own seeds, but last year my mom started most of the seeds for the plants she put in her garden, she was very successful with it! So, this year I decided to give it a try. Another lesson she has taught me — if you don't try, you'll never succeed; and with a little bit of hope and faith and a lot of hard work, anything is possible! She's a very wise lady. So, with her guidance I set out on my "seed starting journey."

pellet greenhouses

Just this year, we've decided to follow a tried and true method to planting — The Farmer's Almanac. Why we've not used this before now is beyond me. Any old farmer will tell you to use the almanac for ALL aspects of farming — it won't steer you wrong.

4/24/2018 10:48:28 AM

I used to use the "seed pods" or peat pellets, but they are expensive and I've found that I just reuse the plastic inserts from the plastic greenhouses and refill with soil each year, it's cheaper. Seeds sprout more quickly with heat under them, they dont' need light to sprout, only after they do. So I put a heat mat under the "greenhouses", tomatoes sprouted in 3 days. Celeriac has taken longer, about 9 days. When they get "big enough" I remove the plants along with the potting soil and plant each plant into an individual larger pot, about 3x3, they can stay there until they get planted outside. I do use grow lights after the seeds sprout and I remove the greenhouse top, and if you let a fan blow very lightly on the little plants they get stronger and thicker stalks. I do wait until they have grown a little to put the fan on them, but the fan also helps prevent "damping off", I leave it on about an hour a day. My Napa, brussels sprouts, broccoli and cabbage will go outside soon to "harden off", they are very cold tolerant. I won't put tomatoes, watermelon, eggplant and peppers out for a few more weeks, they like it warmer. I've also found that you don't want to plant inside too early, as the bigger plants get "shocked" when they are replanted outside and the smaller ones will catch up to them anyway. Last year my peppers just didn't grow, this year they are already 4 inches tall, so you just never know what's going to happen. I have heirloom tomatoes that I save the seeds from and plant every year, but I can "fill in" with plants from the local nursery if some of mine (like last year's peppers and this year's eggplant) don't do as well, plus I can grow things that the local nurseries never have, like celeriac and artichokes. Happy Gardening. Be prepared for failures because you will have some, but I think you'll be happily surprised at how easy it is and how much expensive "necessary" equipment really isn't necessary at all.

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