I've started seeds a few times, but it was always when we lived in Los Angeles. I had nothing more high-tech than a window, and probably had a 95% germination rate. Oh, my how easy it was to garden in Los Angeles. Well, except for the watering - goodness I hate to water!
Starting your own seeds is very cost-effective, and lets you grow many unique plants that you won't find at your local nursery, Lowes, or other big box store. Side note: my favorite tomato is "flame" and I can't find seeds for them anywhere. If anyone knows where to get flame tomato seeds, please shoot me an email!
This will be my first seed starting experience in the great Pacific Northwest. I guarantee nothing other than I gave it my best shot! I returned to the book that I used when we lived in Los Angeles, to help guide me through this process.
Technically you don't need anything fancy to start seeds, but I need something brainless since I'm not home often enough to babysit these little guys. I had an older version (circa 2006 or 2007) of this seed starting kit from Gardeners.com, but my system came with a little water indicator thingy. I lost most of the parts in our various moves, so I splurged for the new system this year. I love that it came with the coconut coir brick.
Many seed starting "soil" recipes include peat moss. Peat moss is a nonrenewable material that is super harmful to the planet when it is harvested. Plus, someone told my kid that peat is decomposed dinosaurs, so buying a bag of "Buddy, Shiny, Tiny and Don" from Dinosaur Train would not be popular in my house. Rather than destroying my child and the earth, I'm giving coconut coir brick a shot this year!
Making seed starting soil
Perlite (the white fluffy things in store-bought soil. You can find it at any garden store) ~$4.50
Seed starting soil (I used Miracle Gro organic because I couldn't find anything else at my store) ~$5.25
Coconut coir brick
*I tried to find worm castings to use in this, but they didn't have any at my store. I'll fertilize in a few weeks to make up for the loss of castings.
1) Place the coconut coir brick in a bucket, and add some water. Let it soak a bit, and then break it apart. Keep adding water and breaking it apart until it is damp and loose. (too obvious. I would feel cheap if I even added a "that's what she said").
|Owl hat made with love by my aunt.|
|Jack informed me that it was better to "stab" the coir than to stir it.|
3) Add water to the mixture if needed. Grab a handful - it should form a ball that feels like crumble chocolate cake. If it ball holds its shape (hee hee) when squeezed (OMG), chances are the mixture has too much water it in. Let it dry out a bit. If the mixture doesn't even form a ball, you'll need to add more water.
Assembling the seed starting materials
These are all the pieces that came in the gardeners.com seed starting kit.
Wet the white sheet (it feels like felt) and place one side flush with the top of the spiky mat, and the other end should be fitted under the spikes.
-seeds (no brainer)
-a stick, tape, or something to mark which seeds are which
In the past I've always used Baker Creek Seeds, but Erika over at Northwest Edible Life recommended Territorial Seeds, so I thought I'd give them a shot this year. So basically if my garden sucks, it's her fault - not mine! ;-D
|Write out the markers BEFORE your hands are all covered in dirt.|
|I like to let the seedlings think they're relaxing on a sunny beach. Helps with germination.|