Tuesday, February 21, 2012

Starting Seeds

It's that time of year again, time to plant the garden!  Well, not quite, we are starting seeds indoors to be transplanted out later.  Yesterday I started 48 pots of onions.  These are 4"x4" pots in which I plant 30+ seeds.  Most of those germinate and then we just pull them apart and transplant the individuals plants into the garden in May (weather permitting).  The earlier (within reason) I can get the onions going in the spring the better, as the size of the top growth ultimately determines the size of the bulb.

I started some Rosemary (herb plant) for Mindy yesterday too.  These take almost a month just to germinate, so they need to get started really early.

For the last few years we have started our seedlings in garden soil.  This way the plants have all the nutrients they need, and we don't need to try to fertilize them.  In the fall, before the ground freezes, we fill five gallon pails with dirt and lug them into the root cellar.  (Digging up frozen dirt in February would be mission impossible)
Bucket of Dirt
Ready to Plant

Onion Seeds
Finished Trays

When all the seeds were planted I watered them and then put them under the "grow lights".  This is an area in our garage where we have some fluorescent tubes mounted on the bottom of a shelf.  Then about 12 inches below that we have a second shelf for  putting the trays of pots on.  We use blocks to raise and lower the trays to keep them close to the lights so the plants don't get to tall prematurely.  We put clear plastic over the front and put a heater inside to create a mini-greenhouse.
Grow Lights
As soon as weather permits, we will move these outside to our patio door "hot house" where they can get real sun and eventually get hardened off for planting in the garden.

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