I’ve planted some seeds! The seeds are up! Spring will (hopefully) soon be here!
Last Monday (the 14th) I planted Coronada Crown broccoli, Ruby lettuce, Ferry’s Round Dutch cabbage, Sweet Surprise cabbage, Brunswick cabbage, and Michihli Chinese cabbage. Why all the cabbage? Because two years ago Brad picked up lots of outdated free seeds for me at a meeting he attended. I never got around to planting it that year and then this year decided I ought to plant a lot of it since maybe a bunch of them wouldn’t sprout. Turns out I was wrong. I think every single seed popped up. Who needs cabbage plants?!
I also planted a bunch of Rossa di Milano onions. I love these guys. They are a red onion that actually stores fairly well. Not as well as Stuttgarters but for a mild onion, they store like champs. Sorry, I don’t think I’ll have extras of these. I just realized I’m running out of onions and it’s still February! I guess we eat a lot of them.For anyone wondering, I start my seeds in vermiculite. Works like a charm. Take a cup, stab a hole in the bottom (for drainage), fill it with vermiculite, sprinkle on a whole bunch of seeds, cover them with a little more vermiculite, water a bit, and sit back and wait. (And vermiculite is reusable! Just bake it in the oven for a few minutes to kill any diseases and then use again.)
Well, a week later my sprouts looked like this:
They are even bigger, now. And the onions have finally popped up. They take a little longer. When they get to be an inch tall, I’ll snap another picture. They look funny compared to cole crops and lettuces.
Yesterday I transplanted the broccoli and cabbage. It may have been a bit early (are you supposed to wait until the first set of true leaves grows out?) but I did it anyway because they were getting so tall and leggy. When I transplant them, I stick the tall leggy part down in the soil so they aren’t quite as spindly as they grow.
And why do I plant them in every other hole? Because when they get bigger, they will crowd each other out. The first year I used these trays, I planted in every hole and the plants were so jumbled up. I decided I had enough of that and used every other hole the following year. Much better.
Here’s a frugal idea for you: all those plant tags you get when you buy things at a greenhouse? Save them and use them when you start your own! I like to keep all of my different varieties of veggies separate so I label things carefully…just write over the printed words with a Sharpie. Another idea is to save hand lotion bottles and other plastic bottles that are white. Wash them out and then cut them into strips. I actually prefer these over reused plant labels because they don’t have any writing on the one side. Makes for easy reading of the plant names.
I like to keep meticulous records of my garden. Why? I don’t know. I suppose when I first started gardening I worried that I wouldn’t remember how much of what I planted and when I did everything. I shouldn’t have worried. Now I don’t really look at my records but I still keep them. It satisfies my need to be organized.
Here’s a document that I do look at a lot. It’s my seed starting spreadsheet Check it out. Feel free to print it if you think it will help you. Keep in mind I’m in Pennsylvania. Depending on where you are located, your chart would look different.
Now all that’s left to do is get my grow light working in the basement. I can’t put my plants on my windowsills or Tage will eat them. Besides, they grow so much better under a light…not having to reach toward the sun like they do on a windowsill. I know it’s not practical to run that light so much but I figure it saves us money in the long run by not having to buy hundreds of veggie plants in the spring.
Oh, and I also have to start tomatoes, peppers, egg plants, herbs, etc. There’s lots more seedlings to come!
How about you? Do you start any plants? Do you garden at all? Want to try this year? I love garden tours and I’d love to take one of yours via a comment 🙂