Happy day after the first day of spring!
I love all the signs with my name on them during this time of year – Subaru has an annual “Love Spring Event,” a furniture store in Silverdale has “SPRING FLING” written in fancy letters, but my brother posted my favorite sign on his Facebook page:
To celebrate the changing of the seasons, I ate the last bit of my homemade pesto from last summer (it tasted like sunshine!), then I planted seeds.
The pesto recipe will come later, today I want to talk about seed sowing…
Some people skip the seeds and just buy plant starts, but after I saw two long rows of plants pop their heads up from a two dollar bag of seeds, I was hooked.
This year I did some seed swaps, where friends and I shared seeds since so many come in each package. I love trading!
I learned from my plant guru brother that, while Jiffy peat pots and their plastic containers are nice, they aren’t necessary for growing plants from seed. I keep small containers, including the plastic six packs, from plants I’ve bought in the past and my boyfriend gave me a stack of his small containers. I’ve also read about people using toilet paper tubes and other household items – the container doesn’t matter, it’s what’s inside that counts!
I will sow my carrots, lettuce, spinach and peas directly into the garden next week as they don’t mind colder weather, but squash, peppers, zucchini and other seeds that like warmer weather can get a head start by being started indoors. I’m also starting nasturtiums (did you know they’re edible?), parsley, eggplant and cucumbers indoors.
Here’s how I sow my seeds for edibles when I’m not putting them directly into the ground:
1. Pour potting soil into a large tub (I use Organic Gardener’s Gold that I bought from Poulsbo’s Valley Nursery).
2. I mix in a little compost from my garden, but this isn’t necessary. I like to give my plant babies an extra boost. I used about 10 parts potting soil to 1 part compost this year. You can also build your own soil.
3. Scoop soil into containers until it’s about half an inch from the top.
4. Set the containers in a tray of some kind so you can move bunches of them easily.
5. Water the soil until damp all the way through but not soaking wet.
6. Poke a little hole in the middle of the soil in each container, about 1/2 inch deep.
7. Put 1-2 seeds in each hole.
8. Cover lightly with 1/4 to 1/2 inch of damp soil.
9. Mark the containers before moving on to the next kind of plant before you forget what is planted where! I’m lucky and have plant-lover parents, so I had some very old plastic tags around, but you can use old twisty ties or popsicle sticks.
10-11. When you’re finished, take the seeds inside and put them in the warmest, sunniest spot and cover with plastic. (When I come across large plastic bags used for packaging I keep them around for things like this).
Last year I put my plastic wrapped containers in sunny windowsills and within two weeks almost every single container had little green heads poking up. Unfortunately I damaged the wood in one windowsill, so this year I’m trying a new window…with tile flooring in front of it.
There are about a zillion different techniques for planting seeds, with all kinds of expensive gadgets you can buy, but if you want to keep it simple, inexpensive and (almost) waste-free, try my method and let me know how it goes!
What did you do on your first day of spring? If you sow your own seeds, what techniques do you use?