Monday, March 21, 2011

Spring Seed Starting

Finally, it is the first day of spring. Time for barbeque (while wearing a winter jacket) and shoveling the snow off the kids playground equipment. Of course, they still need to play outside while wearing snowsuits. Nevermind that I can't even get to my vegetable garden or raised beds due to a great deal of snow. I know that my crocuses haven't forgotten their spring duties.

Feeling the spirit of spring nonetheless, I pulled out the plastic trays, seed starting mix, and hundreds of little plastic pots. Actually, the project started with what looked more like a sewing project. I've used the moisture wicking fabric from Lee Valley for a few years now and really like how it makes watering the little seedlings quite easy. The stuff comes in large pieces so that you could cover big greenhouse benches with it, but I cut it to fit the black rectangular trays that I put under my grow lights.

Next, I reuse my plastic pots from previous years (washed out by Resident-LawnmowerMan last fall after he got tired of the heap of dirty pots that grew steadily in our garage). I fill these loosely with seed starting mix with an extra bag of perlite mixed in. If you can't find the finely-sieved seed starting mix, you can use potting soil, but it occasionally has big lumps and sticks and other aggravating debris.

I did plant some seeds today, though held myself back from planting the majority of them. I regularly plant the seeds far too early and end up with large plants that I have no room for, having expanded out of the basement to all available windowsills.
A few flower and herb seeds are sown and kept under the plastic humidity dome:

With the wicking mats below all the pots, I only need to water into the tray and don't need to water the pots from above. This has the dual benefit of avoiding dislodging the seeds and reducing the fungus problems that attack seedlings. Eventually, the fabric gets dirty and thins out, but it does last a few years before needing replacement. In warmer weather, it can also be hosed off and left to dry outside.

1 comment:

DawsonDee said...

I am so happy to see that someone else has started seeds already, too! I broke my resolve to wait until April and planted some last week. I was promptly told my friends and my BF that it was "too early"! We are still under 2 feet of snow in northern BC. Early or not, I am willing to take the chance. Can't wait to see things grow :-)

Thanks for a great blog!