March 23, 2009

Setting up for Seedlings

It's March 23rd and in the temperature is in the twenties!!

I've had about enough of winter and I'm ready for it to be warm enough to garden. In the meantime, I've been collecting the supplies I'll need for this year's seedling growing extravaganza. I'm still not convinced it's going to work and in the end I may have to spend more money than I normally would just to try. I figure it's still cheaper because I rarely buy any produce at any store once the garden is in full swing.

So far I've amassed an impressive number of plastic containers including lots of plastic egg cartons and an array of soda and juice bottles. I ordered some seeds from Johnny's Seeds in Maine and borrowed a small table from Captain Awesome. I still need to get some coir or other sustainable growing medium, some milk crates and a grow light from my pal Ms. Knapsack. I also got a soil thermometer...mostly because I've been wanting one for a while. I'm not sure it will even work for the seedling growing because the depth is so shallow.

Here's my thinking:
If I want to start planting around mid-May I should start the seedlings in the next couple of weeks. The small table is up next to the radiator which should keep them warm enough, although they're also near a window which could make them cold. The table will keep them elevated as a deterrent to my lovable, but evil cats who might like to snack on the tender greens.

The egg cartons have so much extra plastic, that I should be able to cut off the top flap and put it underneath and then poke holes in the bottoms of each of the egg cups and water only from the bottom.

Once the seedlings are big enough I can transfer the healthy ones to the soda bottle green houses, keep them inside at first and then eventually transfer them to the porch to toughen up before they go in the garden.

At this point it seems hard to believe I'll really be able to pull this off, but I am definitely going to try.

A few seeds I'm planning to start with:

Dill - I don't actually like dill, but I grew it last year because it attracts some good bugs, this is a good choice because I won't be crushed if the seedlings don't work out.

A few things I think I can direct seed, but might try to do seedlings as well:
Shallots - never grown these, but I'll be thrilled if I can.

You'll notice that I don't have any of the big-ticket veggies in here. I think I need to build my confidence slowly. If this works out I can always get more seeds to try more things a few weeks after I start. I've got the seedling from Re-Vision House ordered and I can always pick up more at the farm.

I've got the first draft of the whole garden plan done, but I need to review it in person to see if the spacing works.

I'm not planning to grow anything I've never grown before (at this point) except for shallots, just building on my skills with the stuff I've tried before.


Jenifer said...

Yay! You're back! It must be spring. I look forward to reading more as the growing season continues.

Eveland said...

I read your entire blog and you inspired me to grow some seeds.. and they're growing.. I started with eggplant and beets.. but I have seeds for corn and a bunch of other stuff.. I think I went crazy but whatever.. good luck.. you could see my little girls at

Sally said...

Good luck with your seed starting! Like how you are using lots of recycled material; it had not occurred to me to use the egg cartons but I think that'd be economical with space under the grow light.

I've sown my basil outdoors in mid-June and that has always worked the best for me.

Mia said...

Whoo-Hoo! I just started seedlings for basil, a couple of tomatoes, brussels sprouts and a bunch of flowers, using plastic take-out containers. I didn't start any seeds last year b/c we don't have great light in the house, nor do we have the space for a grow light. But my windowsill at work gets great sun and my office is nice and warm, so we'll see how this goes...
Like you said, it's a little expensive for an experiment, but if it works it'll be money.

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