Seed Starting 02/15/2012

Spring IS Coming

It can be hard to see through to spring and summer in February when the days are short and the temperature is hovering at freezing.  But now is the time to start thinking about your garden!  If you have a warm sunny spot in your home you can start seeds now for a longer and more productive growing season.  You also have time to plan the best arrangement for your available space, and for multiple staged harvests.  Our seeds come from the oldest seed house in the US and most of the seeds we have are heirloom varieties. We have a good selection of vegetables, herbs and flowers.  If you don’t see what you are looking for in our seed stock, we will order what you want!

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Why Heirloom?

The recent trend with home gardeners as well as small production farms is toward planting heirloom varieties.  Heirlooms were overlooked for many years as people moved away from producing their own food and small farms were swallowed up by large single product producers.  Larger producers need crops that can be stored for longer periods and transport well over distance, these traits frequently come at the cost of taste and texture.    But home gardeners have begun rediscovering and planting some of the great heirlooms that have been resurfacing.  Check out the huge number of different tomato varieties available at your local farmer’s market and you will start to have an appreciation of what heirlooms can do in terms of taste, texture, shape, color and production.

Seed Starting

Some of the benefits of starting your own seeds include, knowing exactly how your seeds and plants have been treated and what chemicals(if any) were used on them,  getting to plant what you want-not just what the garden center has on hand, and cost.

Plants that have a good start in life will be stronger, more disease resistant, and better producers.  Ensuring that your seeds have adequate light, moisture, and temperature from the beginning will make your summer gardening easier.  You also get to make the decisions on what kind, if any, fertilizer that you use.  Most seeds have very simple requirements for germination: Growing medium (soil), moisture, and light/temperature.  One of the deciding factors in getting your seeds to germinate is soil temperature, so generally a warm bright location is best.    

When planning your planting schedule a few things to remember are days to maturity and a plants preferred temperature range.  It is possible with some plants to get several plantings in, in a single season.  Good examples of this are lettuce and radishes.  Both crops mature(are ready for harvesting) quickly, about 20-30 days for radishes and 40 for lettuce, and they like cooler temperatures, so it is possible to have them growing rotationally all season and they will grow well into the late fall.  Tomatoes on the other hand have a longer time to maturity roughly 80-100 days, they also like it hot and sunny.  It is important to maximize your growing season with plants that are slower to mature so these are the plants that do best started indoors, the plants that are fast to maturation do well being sown directly in your garden.

What you Will Need

  • Seed starting soil
  • Small seed cups-or a small “greenhouse” kit
  • And of course... Seeds

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