Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Sowing Seedlings

Even though our evening temperatures are still below freezing, our daytime temps are climbing nicely toward warmer spring weather.  HOPE!  It's been a long winter, one we won't soon forget.  In our climate, when warm weather finally arrives, it comes on with a vengeance.  That being said, it's time to plant those seeds that need a boost before setting them in the welcoming soil.  Cabbage, cauliflower, tomatoes, herbs, onions, etc.

A couple of years ago, I noticed that our local hardware store were selling these neat little greenhouses to help start seeds.  Basically, it was just a plastic container with preformed cups of soil covered with clear plastic.  For about $10, someone could start a dozen seeds on a sunny window sill and be ready for spring planting.  My first thought was, "Someone is a genius for thinking to market something so simple."  My next thought was for those poor unsuspecting souls that will pay $10 for something they could easily do at home with materials on hand.  

During the winter months, we begin saving all of our lettuce, spinach and yogurt containers:

The lettuce containers are just clear plastic boxes with a lid.

The yogurt containers are from Nancy's and have these neat little lids that keeps the fruit seperate from the yogurt until you combine the two.  

First, we organize the seeds and decide which seed will go in which container, then we label the container's accordingly. 
We poke holes in the bottom of the containers and set them on "drip trays" to catch any moisture and for easier watering later on ( we fill the drip trays with water and let the soil pull the moisture to the seed.)

Next, we put the planted seedlings in our garage against a sunny window.  Because we have more seeds than can take advantage of the full sun, we hung a grow light above the seedlings near the back. Also, we put a heater (set on low) under the tables since our garage is unheated.

We keep the soil moist and the lids on the containers until we see the seedlings peak their heads up from the soil.  

We planted these seeds 5 days ago and already we're seeing good progress on their growth.

 These should be good and stable for planting in the garden in a few weeks.

 The next project is to get the garden ready to receive these seedlings and even more seeds.  I'm impatiently waiting for the sun to give up it's warmth...soon I hope!


  1. I know what I will be saving next winter! Fun stuff looks like you will have a big garden this year. You coming this way anytime soon?

  2. Yes, we're planning on having a big garden and a good, strong fence! Last year, the goats broke down the fence surrounding the garden while we were away and ate everything - roots and all! Those rascals.

    I hope to be making my way to your area this Summer several times. Grace has declared that she wants to haunt Dalyn's doorstep - so I will too! Let's do lunch!!

  3. If the weather doesn't turn nice right away, and the sprouts look spindly, you can re-pot them in yogurt containers or old seeding pots. That's what I usually end up doing. Wow! What a wonderful variety you have. Could you tell me what you get Burpee for and what you prefer as heirloom?

  4. Thanks for the advice! I ended up planting them in the garden and buried them up to their "necks" to protect their tender stems. Then I used cloiches to enhance their growth while it was still a bit chilly outside. I bought a few "Organic Burpee" seeds from Walmart as an experiment. I usually order heritage seeds, but wanted to see if the Burpee worked as well or better. So far, not so good! About 80% of Burpee's seedlings didn't even sprout. Whereas less than 10% of the heritage seeds didn't sprout. I won't be purchasing Burpee agian.