Friday, January 25, 2013

Sowing the Seeds of Love

Forgive the painfully dated homage to the pop music of my youth...  wow did I love that song.

It's mid-January and we have started seeds for several of our selections indoors, namely tomatoes, peppers, eggplants, and onions.  Most pepper, tomato, and eggplants recommend starting indoors 8-10 weeks before the last probable frost which is mid April for us.  We should have nice plants to transplant when  it is time.  There are a variety of ways to start seeds and we opted to get a grow lamp , a heat mat, and a thermostat to help get the little guys off to the best start possible.  Other than the seeds and these items we tried to re-purpose items before they hit the trash or recycling bin.

Egg cartons made a great way to start onions.  From what I've read, they can be a bit finicky to start from seed so I way over planted what we need.  It may seem silly to have the white table cloth as we did, but it helped to track down wayward seeds that otherwise would be lost against the backdrop of the table.

For the tomatoes and peppers we used berry containers and cut off bottle bottoms from sparkling water.  The berry containers had holes, but we had to punch holes in the water bottle bottoms for water drainage.

Watering new seedlings requires a more delicate touch so the seeds do not get displaced.  This water can was inspired by something I saw on Pinterest or the inter webs somewhere and it does a fine job.  It's another water bottle with small holes drilled into the top.  I leave it right next to the seeds and water as needed when I check on them throughout the day.

Until the seeds start to germinate, they don't require sunlight and can benefit from a cover to help keep the environment damp.  I used cake and pan lids we have on hand.

With all these seeds it's was imperative to keep track of what is what.  I pre-printed labels that we will use with seed information and days to harvest.  Then on planting day we wrote the date and the number of seeds that we planted.  This will help us gauge how readily our plant choices this year germinate.  This one is a pepper, a variety called La Bomba from Totally Tomatoes.  We planted 11 seeds on 1/24.
Germination, it typically takes place withing 7-10 days of planting, but as I learned today, don't give up too soon.  These seeds were planted two weeks ago and check out this little sprout that is popping up.  Look closely on the bottom between the two established seedlings.  He's there!

We are well on our way to a sizable edible garden for this spring and summer and these little sprouts are a welcome reminder that spring is just around the corner.  We have our seed nursery in our front room.  While we could have put it in a less visible place, this ensures they get attention throughout the day and that we get to see things right as they sprout.  The smalls get a big kick out seeing what grows each day and so far they have resisted the temptation to play in our indoor dirt.

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