Seed Starting

We're trying something new in our gardening this year - starting our own seedlings indoors. Last Saturday we planted lettuce, broccoli, and parsley seeds. For containers we used this nifty trick of cutting a toilet paper tube in half, then making slits and folding in the ends. They're cute as can be, but I'm starting to think they aren't going to last until our baby plants are ready to transplant to our raised bed. The water from our frequent misting is just too much for the cardboard tubes. For our next foray into seed starting (peppers are on the calendar for starting next weekend) we're going to use more durable containers such as old yogurt tubs and empty 1/2 gallon milk jugs.

We've set the little seed containers under a shop fluorescent light that Tim hung from adjustable wires. I've been intimidated before about starting seeds, but so far it seems pretty simple. The broccoli and lettuces are up, but as yet there is no sign of parsley, a slow germinator. I'll try to update later about the success (or lack) of the venture.

I recently checked out a number of gardening books from the library and found them rather discouraging. Why do they have to make it sound so complicated? My philosophy is to keep it simple and try to learn something new, even something very small, every year. We garden on a small scale mostly using ideas from Mel Bartholomew's Square Foot Gardening. If you don't yet garden, give this book a peek. Pick out a few veggies your family enjoys and set up a small square or two. Container gardening is also a great option if space is limited. Grow a few tomato plants, and maybe a tub with herbs - parsley, basil, and cilantro would be my choice. It won't be time for warm weather crops like those for several more months, but February makes a great time to start thinking and planning for summer harvests.

Isaiah 61:11 For as the earth brings forth its sprouts, and as a garden causes the things sown in it to spring up, so the Lord GOD will cause righteousness and praise to spring up before all the nations.


Emilia said…
After meeting you at MOPS today and hearing about your family, I am blessed to have found your blog. I will be checking out the USDA website. I look forward to learning more in your future posts. We've been thinking about planting a garden this summer but haven't started seedlings yet. We might have to go the container route since we have a small back yard. Thank you!
Anne said…
Emilia - I enjoyed talking to you this morning!
Don't worry about starting any seedlings. There will be lots to chose from at the nurseries in a few months. We're just experimenting. Container gardening can be a great option. My son-in-law, a biology grad student and a fabulous gardener, grows some veggies in containers as well as an in-ground garden. This gives him the option of bringing them inside in the fall and prolonging the harvest.
Emilia said…
I forgot to mention that my dad used to use egg shell halves and their cartons to start his seedlings. Since you have your own chickens, they would be a plentiful option. When it was time to plant, he would crush up the shell into the ground as added nutrients for the plant. The cartons could be reused if they were styrofoam or use the cardboard version and tear them up into the ground too. I'm sure friends or neighbors would be willing to save their containers for you.

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