Wednesday, March 21, 2012

Seed Starting Time

I don't profess to be a gardening expert at all, but I love the adventure that gardening brings every year. By this time of year, I am aching to see new growth. My kids have learned this over the years so they keep their eyes peeled as they walk home from the bus stop. A couple of weeks ago, my first grader, Ben, came running into the house announcing that he saw sprouts and I had to come quick! It turns out that is was the crocuses we planted last Fall just making their appearance. As we looked closer, we also saw tulip leaves barely poking through the soil.

One activity that is part of our Spring traditions around here is starting seeds. It really is quite simple and all the kids love to participate.

We begin with a seed starter kit. (I reuse these year after year.) We've learned that we prefer the kits that create a little greenhouse with the clear top they provide. They require far less water and the seeds sprout faster so I think they must keep the soil warmer as well. We've done enough comparisons over the years that they are the only kind of kit we use now. Fill with potting soil and then plant your seeds. Add a little water and place the lid on top. 

I use making tape to label where we have planted what so we can keep them straight. These kits are meant to fit in a window sill - They will be perfect this year since we now have a cat who loves to jump all over the counters in the bathroom where I used to have our seeds sitting. We have a couple of narrow windows that are above the bathroom mirror. Two of these kits fit perfectly up there.

I've been climbing up on the counter every day watching closely for the first sign of green. Here are the sprouts on about day 3 for the gazania flowers we planted.
Here are the tomato starts.

And here are the lettuce and spinach starts. I've only added water once since the original planting. Now we just wait and watch. They will eventually push the top off. At that point, I will decide which ones move to larger pots and which ones I harden off to add to the garden. The lettuce and spinach can move outside faster than the others since they handle colder temperatures better.

Once I empty these kits, I will replace the soil and plant our squash and pumpkin seeds that only need a couple weeks head start before moving outside. We really can't plant them outside until Mother's Day so I have to wait a bit to plant them or they are too big and don't take the transplant well.

Grab some seeds and start your garden. It will save you quite a lot of money over the summer and be a fun adventure! I'll be eating homegrown lettuce here soon!

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