Tuesday, March 8, 2011

Spring Is Officially Here!

Okay, maybe not really, but close enough!  Spring means gardening and my first seeds are set for sprouting!  Sure, I only have the cabbage and broccoli going at this point, but there is still several inches of snow on the ground and a nasty layer of mud underneath, so it will be a while before I can sneak anything into the ground outdoors, so I'll take what I can for now.

I actually have no idea how old these seeds are.  I got them from another gardener that had more than she needed, saved from a previous year.  If they'll work, though, that'll save me a few dollars from having to go out and buy my own.  Rather than burying them in dirt and hoping for the best, I'm going to keep a close eye on these buggers.  To do so, I just wet some paper towel (I actually used napkins from a fast food place that someone didn't need), set the seeds on it, spaced far enough apart that they won't grow into each other if they do sprout, and set it in a plastic baggy.  Then I put the baggies in a consistently warm place that the kids can't get into that I look at every day (my top dresser drawer).  This has several advantages:
  1. Like I already mentioned, this lets me keep a very close eye on them.  The instant they start to sprout,  I will notice.
  2. I can't kill them by under watering.  If you recall from My Brown Thumb post, that is a very real danger.  The plastic bag creates a closed system so no water gets in or out, keeping the seeds nice and safe from me.
  3. Quicker germination times.  Broccoli and cabbage seeds typically take 5 to 7 days to germinate, but with this method, I should see results within 3 days.
  4. Easier labeling.  Broccoli and cabbage are closely related, so their sprouts look identical.  When I use sticks to label seedlings, the kids sometimes think it is funny to switch them around on me.  With this method, I can write what the seeds are right on the paper towel before wetting it down to prevent any confusion.
  5. Save money on seed starting supplies.  Yes, I have some actual seed starting cups around here and peat pots and seed starter soil and electricity for the shop light that serves as my grow light, but the seeds don't need any of that unless they are actually going to sprout.  This way, I can make sure that every seed cup I have sitting under that light will have a little plant sitting in it.  No empty rooms at this seedling hotel!
  6. It saves space.  The plastic bags containing my seeds won't need nearly as much space as getting out the full seedling tray and setting up shop in there.  This adventure is taking place on the same counter that I would normally be using for food prep and homeschooling the kids, so space is at a serious premium.  The longer I can delay taking up all that room, without delaying food growth, the better!
  7. Less dirt to get dumped.  With 3 kids 6 and under in the house, seedlings getting spilled is also a very real risk.  By lessening the amount of time that tempting dirt will be around, I'm also lessening the likelihood of a major catastrophe.
So maybe I'm not getting my hands dirty just yet, but the first seeds are working on growing, so the 2011 gardening season has officially begun!

I had my son label the paper towels as part of his handwriting practice for the day

1 comment:

  1. Yay! Spring! I love that you had your son label the paper towels. That is awesome. Excited to see your garden this year chickie!