Monday, February 20, 2012

Start Seeds Inside NOW

It's time folks.
Every time I buy a pony pack from the garden center for $4 it just grates at me that I could have bought 2 packets of 50+ seeds for the same price.
This year I am determined to end that!  Part of being a member of Utah Seed Savers means I need to start sprouting my own seeds more.  This is the time to start cruciferous veggies like cabbage and broccoli.  (I find, as a mother of young children, that I feel smarter when I use fancy words.  Anyone else?)
So I planted Marathon broccoli, Bright Lights Swiss Chard, and nondescript leeks.  The seed packet simply said leeks.  Good enough for me.

No, none of them are heirloom varieties, but none of those kind of seeds are easy to save either.  I have no intention of trying to save anything biennial or difficult to pollinate this year.
Just peas and beans.
Maybe a zucchini if I'm feeling good about myself.

If you're new to this and want to start seeds as well, just go to your local garden center for supplies.  That does not mean Home Depot!!  I used to work at Home Depot in the garden center, and trust me, no one there knows anything.  Especially the cashiers.  I had so many people asking me what I recommended for this or that and luckily has some experience and had parents who gardened.  But unless you get them manager (who tends to hide in the back all day), you will not get real help.

Sooooo, go to a local greenhouse and tell them what you want to do and most of the time they are awesome!  Gardeners love other gardeners.
Here's a general idea of what you need to start your own seeds.  :
soil less potting mix or seed starting mix
You don't technically have to have this.  It's not like your seeds wont sprout if you plant them in regular old dirt; most will.  It's mostly peat moss which is nice and light and wont make your seeds rot.  It's also free of diseases.  I like it because I have more control over the environment and some seeds need that.  Plus, it's just plain easier!
a container

I have never grown broccoli, chard or leeks from seed before, so I got one of these and a reservoir and lid to keep the water in.  I have grown squash from a recycled yogurt container before!  Save the ones you get from nurseries and spray with a 10% bleach solution to reuse over and over.  So again, not necessary, but you will want something to provide some sort of greenhouse effect.
Grow Light
Unless you have an awesome south facing window (and lucky you!), you will need something to put over your plants.  I have this one and it worked great when I grew lettuce inside year round in my condo.
Eventually I want to get one of those big ol' fluorescent office light fixtures, but I'm taking baby steps.
heating mat
I do not have one of these.  Some seeds, like tomatoes, just will not sprout under s a certain temperature.  Actually, broccoli might be one of those too.  S I'm planning on using my good old fashioned heating mat.  If that doesn't work I will probably drop the $20.
You will, of course need seeds.  Again, this is where your local greenhouse will come in handy as they generally try to stock things that will work in your area.
If you're new and nervous and scared, just get some lettuce or radishes.  regular old lettuce is really easy to grow, but I have had fool proof radishes fail on me.  Take that to mean what you will.

I got my supplies from my local greenhouse, which is awesome and I love them!!  There's still time if you want to try some of these cool season crops!!  Let me know if you do.


  1. You know, I have a bone to pick with Home Depot employees. Was just there this morning, and *me*, yes, ME, the brand new DIY'er was having to make a choice between what type of paint to get for the stairs. And my gut said one thing and the paint mixer girl said another. I stood there stupidly while she stared at me and I went with...what she said to get! I hope I didn't screw this up. Should have gone with my gut. But what do I know about paint?! She mixes it up all day long and SHOULD know the difference between satin and high gloss...RIGHT?! Sigh.

  2. Thanks for the post! I just did all my seeds on Sunday and was wondering if I should get a heating pad or not for them.