Seed Starting: Round 2

Seed Starting: Round 2

If you have read posts from last spring, you know my first foray into seed starting yielded mixed results. I'm trying a different setup this go around and making a few changes:

Moving the operation out of the basement: both times I started seeds last spring, they started out okay, but ended up growing fungus or becoming 'leggy', and just didn't do that well. I think there were a few issues with the basement - I didn't have a warming mat and I think it might have been too cool down there for the seedlings, especially the warm-weather plants. I expected the shop light to give off more heat, but apparently safety standards have improved since I last touched a shop light. I don't know if the fungus had something to do with the basement, it's an old house and an unfinished basement without a lot of air circulation. So, I decided to try a new environment and set up a space in our pantry which is upstairs and next to the laundry area. Our landlord requires a space heater in the pantry because the room is an addition to the back of the house and he worries about pipes freezing. So as long as we have to have that on, I figured we could get double duty out of the heat and put the seedlings above it to keep them warm. I am also hoping having them upstairs will help with the fungus issue (and inconsistent watering issue as seeing them every time I go into the pantry helps me remember to keep them watered :)

Read More

Adventures in Seed Starting

Adventures in Seed Starting

This is my first season experimenting with seed starting.   I had a bunch of seed trays and containers leftover from previous plant purchases (hoarding for the win!) that I cleaned and disinfected by spraying with hydrogen peroxide.  I purchased a seed starting mix at a nearby nursery as well as a shop light and light timer from Home Depot.  I had PVC pipe from a previous project on hand that I used to create a stand to hang the shop light.  I tried to use what I had on hand as much as possible, so as you can see below it's a bit of a bootleg setup, but it worked for the most part.  

I started back in February with lettuce, kale, swiss chard, spinach, and leek seeds.  I'm not calling it a total fail, but definitely not a total success.  All of the seeds germinated except for the spinach and leek seeds.  A few lessons learned: I think I overwatered a bit.  The seedlings got a little "leggy"...I don't know if that makes sense, but the stems were really long and "stringy".  I thought I took a picture, but I guess I was too ashamed...  I watered from the bottom by putting about a half inch of water in the tray holding the containers.  That is the part I wouldn't change, but next time I will only water when the soil is dry on the top, which lately is less than once a week.  Also, I should have been better about thinning the lettuce early on, I put several seeds in each compartment, but didn't stay on top of thinning and they got tangled.  I think they would have done better with more "room to breathe" so to speak.

Read More