Spring is on its way and that means for those of us that live in zone 5 (most of New York) it’s time to start planting seeds! Let’s start by learning the basics about a seed packet:
At this point you probably have spring fever and are aching to get your hands dirty with fresh soil mix…before you go to the store and get soil let’s plan ahead.
There’s a lot of seed starting mixes out there. I have been gardening for two decades now and I personally don’t enjoy seed starting mixes, it’s so light and fluffy and when you water it it floats weird and takes forever to absorb water. So I prefer to buy a bag of seed starting mix as well as a bag of potting soil. Some gardeners might not like this idea but for me this is what I prefer.
So you’re at the store and you picked out your soil….now your thinking “wow look at all these seed starting kits!!!! I’m going to buy a bunch!!!” Hold on…let’s take a look at common seed starting kits…
Another common and magazine worthy way of starting seeds is using half an egg shell… adorable right!?
Another thing I see often is starting seeds in cardboard egg cartons. Again you have the issue of not enough soil. I did this one season and 90% of my seedlings didn’t make it to being planted. And what did survive were the worst looking plants I’ve ever grown.
If your on a budget and can’t afford to buy the cell trays which is making you tempted to use egg shells or egg cartons try using small containers you already have….anyone have kids? Then I’m sure you have small yogurt cups, apple sauce cups, or I happen to have some Italian ice cups! Wash them out and be sure to poke holes in the bottom for drainage. This will not only reuse “trash” but you can save them and use them for years.
Another popular choice are those biodegradable cups. They are a great choice especially if your grow plants to sell or give away. Your soil is contained and your not using plastic. It’s a great option!
So let’s say you really want to dive right into gardening and your budget allows for a small investment. You don’t want to spend money on plastic and you want the healthiest plants you can get. This is my new best friend! It’s a soil blocker! It makes little blocks of soil with a little spot already for the seeds! Benefit if this tool will last a lifetime, because the sides of the soil block are exposed your plants root will self prune which means they won’t get root bound!
Now you have a little more info for tips on starting seeds. Use whatever option you want or try them all and see what you like best! For you beginners, make a list….you’ll need:
Soil, something to grow your seeds in and you need to choose your seeds. As you pick out seeds bare in mind what the seed will need….does it need to be started indoors? Do you have a sunny spot to plant it if it requires full sun? But most of all have FUN, you don’t need to do this perfectly the first time! I’ve had 20years worth of success and failure in the garden! Enjoy it! Allow gardening to relax you whether it goes perfect or you have some mistakes. Enjoy time alone in the garden but if you have friends or family or kids allow them to join you! I’m getting most my seeds started this afternoon but when my little girl comes home from school she will be getting soil all over as I teach her how to use a soil blocker too!
My next blogs will be about where to make a “nursery” for your seedlings when you don’t have a green house (FYI….I do not have a green house😊). I’ll also blog about how to use the soil blocker, how to use cell trays and small plastic cups. Some of my seeds are many many years old so you will see first hand how well old seeds sprout!
Keep checking my blog daily for more seed starting tips! And read the past blogs for photos of my gardens, family stories and other gardening tips!