Friday, March 7, 2008
Seed Starting Adventures
Everyone enjoys the miracle of sprouting seeds. Besides it is the best way to grow the most plants the fastest and most economical way. It is an excellent method to start a family herb garden. If you need only a plant or two of a variety, you can certainly purchase the plants already established in little pots. We sell them at The Rosemary House and ship anywhere in the US in the spring. On a rainy evening we began some of our seeds for our garden. Some of the seeds we started take a while to germinate so we wanted to get a jump on growing them. We started with a Mesclun mix of salad greens, which is a cold weather crop, so in about 2 weeks and after they germinate the salad green planter will enjoy going out into the cool spring air and we will enjoy harvesting our fresh greens.
To start seeds: fill a container with any sterile medium such as vermiculite, perlite, ground spaghnam moss or organic sterilized potting soil. You can use a flower pot, a milk carton cut length wise or a seed flat. Dampen it thoroughly and allow it to drain completely. Sow your seeds. Scatter very small ones like chamomile and mint thinly on the top of the soil. Then pat them in. Other larger seeds should be covered with the soil to a depth of about 1/16 inch or 1/8 inch or roughly 1 1/2 times the size of the seed. Firm the soil in place and label your pot with the name and date. That's important!
Now pop the whole pot into a plastic baggie - or cover it with glass. For our large lettuce planter we used a dry cleaning bag. This will keep the moisture in where it belongs. Place in a warm spot 70-75 degrees, not necessarily in light which could cook the seedlings as they emerge under glass or plastic covering. Covering your seed bed ensures they will not dry out until germination takes place. That's important! If the little seedlings dry out at the moment of birth they will succumb. It is sure death. Each seed has one chance at life; it will not try again.
Once germinated, remove from plastic, gradually place in full sun and keep watered daily or as necessary. Turn the pots occasionally so they don't grow lop sided reaching for the sun. You can feed occasionally with any good water soluble plant food, we use Kelp. Last but not least watch them grow!