By Jannie Vaught
This week I carefully went through my seed collection and did a plan for what I want to grow this year along with the much-worn garden journal. We are focusing on the variety we know to grow well for us, Celebrity is one we really like, Italian paste and a cherry for salad and garden snacking. It is pea time and we will be digging a few rows to plant. We like English peas and sugar baby. These will have a trellis and we also like the bush variety. Under the light will begin with tomatoes, Peppers, Basil, and lemongrass this year. Although lemongrass starts can be bought I have used seeds. Lettuce Butter Crunch is a good one for our zone and Oakleaf. I find I get Over Zealous as I am anxious for the garden season and tend to be a little extravagant.
So what we want to preserve, eat fresh, share with family friends keep surfacing on my list.
You need warmth and a heating mat for seeds that are waterproof. Clean trays with clear covers. A grow light system. I have a stand with moveable lights,. I use the Jiffy brand Starter mix as it is a clean dependable mix but another starting mix can be used. Make sure you dampen the soil and fill the seed trays pressing down but not compacting just a light press for soil contact. I use a chopstick to make a center hold and following depth recommendations on the package sprinkle soil and another light press. Mark with markers or write on the trays with a silver marking pen and water from the bottom. Set your lights close to the trays. I use CFL compact fluorescent bulbs and a combined multicolor also. They need a minimum of 16 hours of light and 8 hours of dark. Mimic nature and a light fan to gently move them or a hand fan to stimulate growth and stem development. When they get their first leaves you can raise the light as they will grow toward the light and I do turn them if they are leaning. If you see tiny Nats flying over the plants those are fungus nats and can be from over watering and a little cinnamon powder on the soil can stop them. Read the Package and also do some research on the seeds your growing. And once all this is going we wait and dream of warm days and longer days.
Remember we’re looking for a large starter plant with a solid stem. Warm soil 60 degrees and the soil prepared for the seedlings. If you are shopping for seeds there may be some delays as it seems many of the Heirloom seed providers are overwhelmed with orders. They warn you before you begin your cart.
It won’t be long and we will be back out in our gardens.
Growing Green and staring plants with Jannie