If I didn’t know better, looking outside for the past few weeks I would think it was more like mid-winter rather than early spring. On these grey days that keep us cooped up in the house we can at least exercise an act of faith and plant some seeds!
By Shannon Dillon
Our weather has been less than co-operative (for gardeners) and Old Man Winter seems to have a few more things to say before he gives way to Spring. When you first see even the tiniest piece of green poking out from under the soil, it somehow reminds us that Winter can’t last forever and Spring & Summer are on the way! Here are a few tips for starting seeds indoors:
- If you choose to re-use seed flats or pots from previous years it’s always a good idea to sterilize them with a mild disinfecting solution of 2 Tablespoons bleach per gallon of water. You can soak them or scrub them down & then rinse well with plain water.
- I recommend always using a seed starting mix instead of regular potting soil. It’s much finer, making it easier for small tender seeds to sprout. Because of the amount of peat moss in most mixes it can benefit from a little additional perlite to help with drainage & that yucky green crust that can form on the top of the soil.
- The best way to water after seeding your flats is by mist. There are some great low volume mist nozzles available that apply just enough water to wet the mix, but not drown the entire flat.
- A great way to boost germination is by using a heat mat under your flats. Root zone heat is an excellent way to sprout some of the stubborn seeds like Eggplant, Peppers, Perennials & a few Herbs.
- After your seeds have sprouted, you can begin to fertilize with a weak dilution of fish emulsion & seaweed, about 1 Tablespoon per cup of water. Young seedlings benefit greatly from the vitamins & minerals in this organic fertilizer. In fact you can feed your garden all summer long with a stronger mixture of this same fertilizer.
Of course if you missed the window to seed your peas, lettuce, chard & cole crops, never fear, Dillon’s Nursery is here! We are loaded with all kinds of starts that can go into you garden right now.