The 2010 Garden is underway!!! Last weekend I started many of the vegetable seeds that will be growing in the garden. If you plan to grow your garden from seed (and I highly recommend it), you need to start your seeds 6-8 weeks before the last predicted frost date. Here in Columbus, I won’t plant tender vegetable seedlings until after May 1st and will not direct sow seeds until after Mother’s day. Lettuce and some other cold weather crops are an exception, but a rare one. I am using a new product for seed starting…many of you will recall the disaster from last year’s product from Burpee…ugh…enough about that…anyway, I purchased a new product from Jiffy at the store closing sales at Smith and Hawken last year…since I will use only two of these trays per year, I should have enough for 5 years!
Starting seeds is easy, it is simply giving the seeds a headstart germinating and growing to a seedling stage before transplanting in the garden.
I separated the two types of crops into the two trays. One tray will be used for “above ground” crops such as squash, peppers, tomatoes and such. The other tray is for root crops such as beets, leeks, carrots, etc. Next, make sure that the peat pods have an opening to insert the seed. Sometimes in manufacturing, the netting covers the entire top, cut that away before planting your seeds.
Next, add water…now prepare yourself…these pods take a lot of water…mine took approximately 1 gallon per tray to be the right consistency for planting…this will take time, adding water a bit at a time until all pods are expanded and ready. When you plant your seeds, make sure the seeds are planted twice their diameter in depth and ensure good soil to seed contact by pressing them in and fluffing over the seed with soil. Next, you should label your seed pods. You can use anything, try re-purposing something. I found an old pack of computer business card sheets with an awful graphic that I have no use for and wrote on the backs of each card what the plant was. These are natural papers and inks so if they break down, they can be composted 🙂
Once the seeds are planted, watered and labeld, cover them with the planting lid and keep moist and covered until the seeds germinate and small seedlings emerge. Then the can be kept uncovered in good light and kept moist until they grow enough to be transplanted!