It is March now and spring is right around the corner, dear readers. If you have not done your early planting already now is the time. Wise homesteaders start as many of their plants inside early as they can. I personally have planted over 600 seeds in the past two days. I wait in anticipation to see little green sprouts in a few days.
Here in Missouri the last frost threatens until mid April. Last year I started my seeds a bit earlier- in mid February, but life held me back a couple weeks. A couple weeks in no big deal in plants for my region. If you live in a much colder climate your timing may make a big difference in how much you can harvest come fall.
(See that yellow spot in Missouri, that is about where I am. It makes me long to grow things that say they can be grown in zone 7, but I am right on the verge of 6 and 7 so I do not dare try olive trees or citrus outside a pot at present.)
How to start your seeds for a future of a healthy garden.
Starting seeds indoors early is the best way to have an earlier harvest. It also is a good way to make a little money off of your gardening. I generally sell my plants for $1 each and make small profits each season. I though am selling heritage plants grown organically. They sell quickly. This is a instructional on my technique. You may find doing other things works better for you and your area.
- First gather all your supplies. You will need pots, soil, seeds, fertilizer and water
I use local natural soil, not treated Miracle Grow type products. I recycle and use as many of the same pots each year as I can. I use natural fertilizer from rabbits, pigeons, horse and other herbivores. I use my own collected seeds and those I collect from other heirloom vegetable growers. To have healthy plants one must give them the lest start possible.
I personally don’t wear gloves. I never mind getting my hands dirty to create new life or do a worthwhile job. First for best germination you should soak the seeds 24- 48 hours. I find wrapping them in tissue or paper towels and wetting those work best for me. Some literally put the seeds in containers of water or simply over water the soil the first few days after planting. Whichever works best for you will do.
If you are pre-soaking the seeds after you have done this it is time to mix soil and fertilizer or compost. Fill your pots with the mixture. You will only be planting the seeds half an inch or so into the soil. Most seeds need only minimal covering. They just need it firmly packed around them and wet properly.
Your freshly planted seeds need be kept somewhere warm but not overly hot. Please bring them in if thee will be a frost and they are being kept outside. They will germinate and grow fastest if kept between 60 F and 80 F degrees. If you are trying to grow peppers they like it 75 degrees or more and may not germinate with lower temps.
Water your freshly planted seeds well the first day and then continue watering them every two days or when the soil dries. Do not allow them to be constantly wet or dry out too much. Within 4-10 days most all will sprout. A few harder to sprout seeds may take as long as 18 days to sprout, but if you do not see anything growing by day 21 then most likely the seeds simply did not take. A germination rate is 75% or more. I generally get 85% or better. Anything under 50% is bad and shows either bad seed stock, soil or lack of proper care.
After all chance of frost is past and your seedlings have at least two good sets of leaves (Usually 2- 3 weeks after planting) they are ready to be put into their more permanent homes. I generally transplant them into 4 inch pots for sale and then allow them establish another few days before selling or planting in my own garden.
Last year was my first spring on our little homestead. I was pleased with my small harvest despite the overwhelming weeds from freshly tilled soil. I more than made back all I invested in the first year garden and was able to harvest some good seeds from tomatoes, pumpkin and corn. I know this year’s harvest will be amazing and look forward to hearing from all others growing their garden this year.
To your hhh,