seeds…… that I didn’t kill……

seeds..... that I didn't kill....

seeds..... that I didn't kill....

seeds..... that I didn't kill....

seeds..... that I didn't kill....

seeds..... that I didn't kill....

seeds..... that I didn't kill....

seeds..... that I didn't kill....

seeds..... that I didn't kill....

seeds..... that I didn't kill....

seeds..... that I didn't kill....

I am very, very good at killing seedlings. I did have a few successful years in Louisiana. Oh that garden was a battle….. but a good one in learning to let go and work with what I had. And things did start to go well as time went by. Except those potatoes, ahem.

Last year I had a lovely pile of seeds in hopes of starting a garden….. but wow. Moving is a lot of work and getting settled is even more work and so I tucked them away (in a cool dry place) for the next spring. And here we are. A year later. I got a little enthusiastic in February. It happens to the best of us. Especially perhaps to a girl who was having her first real winter in four years. The result?

Two varieties of peppers, five varieties of tomatoes, lettuce, more than a dozen herbs, at least a dozen flowers, potatoes, a few winter squash, lots of dark leafy greens, tons of lettuce, cucumbers, melon, beans…. and I'm sure I've left something out….

In the next week or so we'll be putting in three 4×12 foot raised beds out back. Tucked somewhere in between the grape vines and berry bushes. Oh my….

But back to the seeds. This is my most successful year yet. I followed the advice of one of my favorite books. I thought it would be nice to share a few of the successful tips here with you:

Buy an inexpensive shop light that you can raise & lower to be 2-3 inches above your seedlings. The close light keeps them from growing too quickly, aka spindly.

Use one warm fluorescent and one cool fluorescent for a good uv spectrum.

Plug your light into a timer to make sure the seedlings are getting 16 hours of light each day.

Keep them in the warmest spot in the house.

Leave the plastic cover on until they sprout, then take it off.

*these are all from the book*

Use great seeds! (Mine are from this place and this place.)

I splurged on self watering trays from Home Depot. These are the cat's meow. They have channels in them, a water absorbing mat on top, and the seedling in peat pots over that. You simply keep the trough filled and the plants drink what they need through little holes in the top tray, encouraging deep root growth and discouraging that thing where they all keel over at the base. That's so sad when that happens. Next year, I'll just need some little homemade peat starters and I can reuse this system.

The tomatoes all sprouted right up and are getting their second leaves. The peppers took a little more coaxing and a heating pad tucked under the tray for encouragement….. but they're up now! Next is thinning. Oh I hate that part. I think this weekend I'll start some herbs, because as you know, I have a few of those…..

Are any of you starting your garden plans? Tell me what you're growing!

xo,

s

 

15 thoughts on “seeds…… that I didn’t kill……

  1. The tomatoes in my greenhouse are just now popping up. Way too late to plant for the first round. I might try them when they are ready just for round 2 of harvest. We shall see. I have some cool varieties started. I will have to buy most of my stuff this year. Got started in the green house too late I think. Squash and cukes are doing well and we will be able to plant those though! This greenhouse thing is a learning process for sure.

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  2. Self watering tray? How is it I have never heard of these? Next year I will be ready. I planted all my seeds in little trays the way we always have, but my Mike is trying something new, Bioponics, so I am curious to see how it all works out.
    Glad you have little seedlings and they didn’t die.

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  3. Still dreaming of a greenhouse here πŸ™‚ I need to look for one over the summer & into the fall….. they have an annual rare and unusual plant sale in Providence I hope to attend. I just want to see the herbs people have! I have so many herb seeds to plant…. and flowers. Hoping to build beds this weekend πŸ™‚

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  4. Got onions in the garden, garlic growing, put in lettuces, kale and cauliflower, and direct seeded peas, lettuce and carrots.
    Have lots of flowers and basil in a greenhouse, but think I will buy a few tomato, pepper and eggplant plants. I want to try too many varieties for it to make sense to buy the seed.
    Here’s a little of my garden now:

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  5. Look at your seeds! They’re fantastic. πŸ™‚
    I started broccoli and celery indoors this year but I killed them. 😦 One of these days I want to find a metal shelving unit that I can fit some shop lights into & have a real seed starting system, but for now I’m sowing outside and buying plants for peppers, tomatoes, etc., that don’t grow here unless they’re started inside. (I was going to do this setup this year, but now that we think we’ll be moving in another year it seemed like just one more thing to move, so I waited. Next year, perhaps…) xo

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  6. Ugh-seedlings! I killed three sets before I invested in a set-up similar to yours. I think I just killed some tomatoes this weekend potting up, ugh!
    I need to get some basil going this weekend-thanks for the reminder, can’t wait for all the pesto!
    I actually am using something similar to peat but made out of coconut fibers so it’s more sustainable since peat is a like petroleum from what I’ve read. I totally would have purchased peat but the hippie garden store I love doesn’t even carry it!

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  7. Look at you! That all sounds amazing….. Your fruit tree blossoms are incredible! So beautiful. We planted 6 apple trees and a plum tree within the last week. The plum is just beginning to have tiny buds…. flowers soon, I hope? There is nothing like the scent of fruit blossoms!

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  8. Thank you! It’s so exciting when things go well. The book I referenced above talks about using a metal shelving unit with lights to start plants inside. Lowes and Home Depot have a fairly affordable one. It’s under $100, very sturdy and very well made and the shelves are adjustable! We bought one for jar storage in the basement. I know just how the moving mindset goes….. suddenly everything is looked at with thought of it being necessary and packable….. keep me posted on where you are heading πŸ˜‰

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  9. It’s so hard. I have killed millions of seedlings over the years. I am not even exaggerating! Yes to basil….. oh how I love basil. I missed having it last year. Thankfully we got some from the csa. I blended up the italian herbs with oil and froze them in ice cubes and small glass jars. Such a treat in the winter! I’ll have to read up on good alternatives for next year for starting soil/peat/stuff. I didn’t look into it all this year because I wanted those little greenhouses πŸ™‚ But next year I’ll have to find something!

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  10. I love reading about your family gardening, homesteading adventures – it helps to keep me motivated with my own projects! Prior to kids my husband and I lived in downtown Columbus and I set up urban gardens in my teeny tiny backyard that we shared with 3 other families. Everybody thought it was crazy, but they were entertained and nobody complained. At the end of winter, we would have seedlings on every available surface and I’d be chomping at the bit to get outside and get them planted. Now we have 5 acres in Florida and 2 kids and it seems all I can do to get through the day sometimes, so some of my favorite projects – like the gardens have been on hold for a while. But yay!!! I just got started with them again! (Yesterday actually.) We’ve had container gardens on our porch for a couple of years so that we never lost our access to fresh herbs. We also have a yard full of fruit (and nut) trees and I love when the fruit ripens and the kids graze throughout the yard, dangling from the trees like the kids in The Sound of Music. Right now, it’s all about loquats and mulberries. A few weeks ago it was oranges. Blueberries will be coming up (although I don’t have them here yet – we go to the U-pick farms all around us).
    My favorite things to grow are salad greens, as many kinds of Basil as possible (I think the best king of pesto has at least 3 different varieties – Thai basil tastes a little like magic when you mix it with Genovese and the kind labelled “Sweet” basil with the tinier leaves than the Genovese.), an abundance of tomatoes, and as many herbs as I can get. I also love edible flowers. Zucchini are so easy and the squash blossoms are fun too. One year we grew so much watermelon that we struggled to give it all away, and several ended up going to the chickens. They loved it, but the aftermath in their cage was pretty disgusting!
    Thanks for sharin your beautiful family and your exciting projects and your gorgeous photographs!!! It helps to keep me inspired. πŸ™‚

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  11. 5 acres sounds dreamy! Wow. We had mulberries all over when we lived in Louisiana and we ate them by the handful staining our hands purple. The fruit trees in the south are amazing. I miss my little fig and meyer lemon tree. And all the citrus gifted to us in the winter! It was wonderful….. 
    I have a few basil varieties this year. I'm so excited for the spicy thai basil… I haven't had it in years and it is delicious in curry! We cleared a lot of the trees on our property over the last few months to open up the tree canopy so we can put raised beds in. We found a great local company that does compost and a good natural bedding mix. We're having four yards delivered Friday! So *hopefully* this weekend some lettuce and kale seeds will be going in. I am so excited to have food in my yard again πŸ™‚

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