Saturday, March 3, 2012

The Thrill of the Sprout!

Doesn't matter how many years we do this, every time a flat of seeds sprouts it's a thrill!  A whoop-dee-do, yee-haw kind of a thrill.  Something about that wee life starting from that tiny seed is awe inspiring, every time!  We'll start a lot of seeds over the next month.  Anything that requires a growing period longer than the four months we have between frost dates will be started indoors.  This will include tomatoes, peppers, herbs, celery, cabbage, broccoli, cauliflower, some of the winter squash and more!  Last year we probably started over forty flats, thickly seeded!  Many of those had to be 'potted' up into pots as they got too big and crowded for the trays - besides, bigger tomato plants are better, right?  Before we can safely use our greenhouse, weather permitting the beginning of April, we will end up with plants everywhere in the house - and then we'll fill the greenhouse, too!

We always start with any seed left over from last year.  Pictured is basil; I ordered a huge bag last year and had a pretty good harvest but still had a bit left in the bag.  Also started bell peppers left over from 2011.  So far, no sign of the peppers, even though they were planted a couple of days before the basil.  I've also started some mesclun lettuce mix for our eating, also from last year.  As seeds arrive in the mail, more flats get started.  Cubits Organics were very prompt in sending my order and some of their sage, thyme, marjoram, oregano and borage are planted.  Received West Coast Seeds and their peppers and tomatoes will be started early next week (The awesome Dragon's Tongue bean is stashed).  Johnny's Select Seeds emailed that they have shipped and that will include more tomato and pepper varieties, as well as cabbage and some other goodies for seeding direct into the garden, like sunflowers.  Tomorrow at Brandon's Seedy Sunday I'll be picking up some packets from Heritage Harvest Seeds including a few of their awesome selection of heirloom tomatoes!  Then, the bulk of our crops, especially regular, direct seeded veggies like carrots, beets and beans will come from Brandon's own Lindenburg's Seeds.  If the 2011 bell pepper seed doesn't sprout soon, we'll add that to the order from Lindenburg's.

As the seeds progress, it adds so much to the house.  The humidity is raised, the smell of life and green growth starts to permeate all the rooms.  It's like Spring starts early, indoors.  Soon we'll be snacking on micro-greens with the added zest of some basil sprouts.  I can hardly wait for the basil to grow: even though we dried some of last year's harvest, there is nothing like fresh basil!  Of course, it's not all good smells and easy growth.  It's hard working keeping all these babies happy!  Some, like the peppers, tomatoes and herbs, need heat and light.  The lettuce prefers it cooler and a little shady to start.  The sun room, where we start seeds, is a little unreliable in temperature so we've got the seed rack wrapped in plastic to preserve heat.  On a sunny, warm day the temperature inside can shoot up quite quickly.  So it's a lot of monitoring: opening the plastic, closing the plastic, unplugging the heat mats, turning the grow lights on, adjusting the lights' height as seedling grow.  Once the little plantings have two sets of leaves we'll start fertilizing with a dilute liquid, organic seaweed fertilizer, custom mixed and getting stronger as the plants grow.  We'll be busy the next few months and then even busier as we move outside into the garden!

1 comment:

  1. and so it starts! Bring on spring. Hearing about a lot of seed companies I never knew of previously and will have to check out in coming years. Received a number of heritage tomato seeds from Heritage Harvest a few weeks back and can't wait to get these growing. They really do have an amazing selection.