I admit it, I’m a garden addict. And probably a food addict too – to some extent. Addicted to fresh greens and other yummies from the garden. I start chomping at the bit this time of year to get out there and plant…however, the two feet of snow in my backyard are a bit of a hindrance… Not sure about the rest of you, but I start combing the seed catalogs as soon as they come in late December! I usually start ordering in early February. Since alot of plants require anywhere from 6-12 weeks to be ready to transplant outside, this is the perfect time to start some of your plants indoors!
I am no master gardener (although I wish I was!) so this is mainly meant to inspire and not instruct. 🙂 I will tell you what I did, but when in doubt check with another gardener (one more savvy than me) or the internet. Mother Earth News is an awesome gardening resource, as is Organic Gardening magazine.
Anyhow, many thanks to my daughter’s preschool teachers for saving all of these wonderful milk cartons for us… I have used peat pots in the past but this seemed like a good reuse/recycling project for us as well.
Planting some Black Hungarian hot peppers…
My broccoli man planting Waltham 29, Purple Peacock and Romanesco broccoli… (disregard the snacks in the background, hungry gardeners at work :-))
And my little lady and her Golden Marconi peppers…
We used the Jiffy Organic Seed Starting Mix that you can buy at Walmart or most hardware stores. I added a little Perlite (1 T.) to each carton and mixed well. We planted the seeds at varying depths. Since we planted everything from celery and stevia (tiny seeds) to artichokes and ancho peppers (bigger seeds)…I just used my judgment and tried not to overdo it with the dirt covering them. When in doubt, Google it.
Water thoroughly, and cover as snug as you can with plastic wrap to keep in heat. I keep mine in old aluminum roasting pans and cake pans so we don’t get water all over the place. Also, my husband found me this snazzy grow lamp at Menards for around $10-15. We used shop lights, which from everything I have read have the same effect and are far cheaper. They should ideally be around 3-4″ from the plant…we need to adjust ours, but you get the jist from the picture. If it’s too far – the plants will get spindly (which has been my problem every other year – hoping this year is different!) I plan to fertilize mine with this Neptune’s Harvest organic fertilizer a couple weeks after they germinate. I have never used it before but have seen lots of good reviews from different sources.
A side note…I got up this morning and in spite of the lights, my pots were really cold in the window. Since the seeds need heat to germinate, I put them in locations that may have more heat than light right now and am hoping for the best. Hoping it warms up a little so I can move them back there soon…otherwise we’ll have to find a new locale for the shop lights.
A few of my favorite seed companies:
Baker Creek Heirloom Seeds (they have the PRETTIEST seed catalog I’ve ever seen!!!)
John Scheepers Kitchen Garden Seeds
All of these companies sell heirloom, non-GMO seed. I am not sure that they are all solely heirloom – so if that’s what you want you’ll have to check it out if you order. I believe that they have all signed the Safe Seed Pledge through the Organic Consumers Association. Turtle Tree Seed and Bountiful Gardens sell biodynamic seed.
Think Spring! 🙂
This post was shared at Butter Believer’s Sunday School; The Better Mom’s Mondays Link Up; The Prairie Homestead’s Homestead Barn Hop; Real Food Forager’s Fat Tuesdays; Kelly the Kitchen Kop’s Real Food Wednesday; The Tasty Alternative’s Allergy Free Wednesdays;