Saturday, February 7, 2015

It's here! Seed starting with "them"

This is the time of year when all of nature begins to look as if winter will never end. But it does, so now is the time we dive into seed starting. This year we are going to attempt another adventure in heirloom tomatoes, peppers, and more. We'll only be doing some of all we plant today. We'll start with a few that need to be started now, start a few more later on, and be ordering seeds for others we don't have.
 Here is the basic way we get started and to give you an idea of money needed, I'll detail cost as well. Today we began with 17 different types of heirloom tomatoes, about 5 different peppers, and only one type of eggplant. You may chose to change quantities up to suit your own home/needs. The total is 360 plants. We will end up adding a few more to these later, but to get all 8 of us in one room on a project that involves tiny seeds, water, and dirt, well you understand I'm sure. This was enough for starting us off. So today we are planting 5 trays of 72 pots/cells which total 360 plants. Some will die, so I always over plant! We spent a total of $35 for 5 Jiffy Pot Tray's. They are all natural and sturdy. Bingo! Each are about $7.00 for a 72 celled container. Seeds would run around $20, but we had saved ours so they were free. Even if you had to buy seeds, you may spend around $55. If you had to buy that many plants you would spend somewhere between $250 and $300. Depending on size and amount in plant tray. I have tried everyway, and looked at a lot of other ways to do seed starting. This is the way that works every time, leaves little to no mess, and is very economical. We've tried newspaper cups, forget it. They dissolve into nothing with water. And you have to find boxes made of plastic to put them in because cardboard also dissolves in water. We've tried little plastic cups. The plants out grow those quickly. We've tried putting seed into big soil trays. Dirt falls off roots and plants go into shock. Lots don't make it. So for many reasons this way is the winner for us.
 Once we are ready its a help to have scissors, duct tape, and a permanent marker handy. This keeps things flowing well as we try to remember what seeds are what, labeling and resealing seed packs.
First we label trays at the bottom per rows of 6. So like if there is going to be 18 of something it will take the space of three row of 6. This is so simple, just label the duct tape and place in front of rows. Next we simply fill with seeds and place trays on top of frig to sprout. Within a few days to a week, Viola! Baby plants then go onto a spot on a counter that will allow a plant light to be placed above them (about 6 to 12 inches) for getting them off to a good start. Total time family bonding, about 1hr. Total knowledge and memories made, immeasurable. We're looking forward to getting out and growing together! Ill be sharing our gardening experiences and how to's all through the season this year. For those interested in gardening with your' little ones, do it! If I can do it with 6, you can too! It's well worth passing down the skills we are having to reclaim. We'll be logging all these varities into our Family Garden Album 2015. They will have something to look at and get excited about until the tomatoes are ready to eat. When you think of giving the young people around you skills, think practically about how far those skills can take them. We are at a cross roads in our health, food supply and knowledge. One skill can feed all those issues. They cannot eat books, video games, musical instruments or fill in your blank here.  No food, no future. They are the future. Invest now!