I have never been very successful at starting seeds inside. As a matter of fact, I have tried unsuccessfully for 3 years to start tomatoes and peppers inside. Each year, I start the seeds and for one reason or another, end up buying transplants at the local Feed and Seed store.
This year, I have received a Southern Small Garden Seed Bucket from Baker Creek Seeds to review for all of you and I am determined to have some healthy transplants for my garden this spring!
Please note that I have no special training in gardening, but that I enjoy teaching my children about the world, having them learn about food and where it comes from, and being able to pick fresh produce to feed our family.
While we were living in an apartment, we belonged to a local organic crop share (CSA) Each week we picked up a bag of in-season produce that was grown by our farmers. We learned to cook with foods that we had never even considered before and our kids learned to like greens like Kale and Escarole. This Small Garden Bucket reminded me of why we joined the CSA.
There are more than 15 types of vegetables and 30 varieties. It was full of seeds to plant and many of them are not ones that I would have selected based on their catalog description, therefor encouraging me to “plant outside my comfort zone” as one reviewer stated. I also purchased several seed packets of my own as well. There were some Russian Heirloom Varieties that I just couldn’t resist trying!!!
I asked the staff at Baker Creek for their seed starting suggestions, this is what Kathy wrote to me;
“As for backyard garden tips: pay attention to shade and/or lack thereof when planting, keep seeds moist when sprouting, and then keep the soil moist but not overly wet. Be sure to thin the radishes after they come up so they will have room to grow. Thinned plants can be used in salads.
Take lots of photos and keep a journal throughout the process. You should find planting instructions on the back of each seed packet. We wish you successful gardening. “
So today, I am going to try and limit myself to writing about my indoor starts, mainly tomatoes and peppers. I wrote a post about using seeds vs transplants here. As you can see by the first picture, my seeds have sprouted – YIPEEE!!!! I planted them in re-used containers; ones from flats of flowers others in plastic strawberry containers. I know they recommend using the seed starting soil, but that stuff is expensive, so I put garden soil in half of each little pot and then used the seed starting soil on the top.
As Kathy suggested, I kept the seeds moist. As the seed packet explained they needed to be “surface sown,” meaning planted on top of the dirt with little or no dirt covering them. I thought this was unusual as I have always covered my seeds, but as I said before I have never been successful, so I was up for trying it!
I planted 2 seeds in each compartment and I will cut off the weaker looking plant. Out of the 9 tomato varieties I planted, 8 had 100 percent germination rate. Or so I thought. Can you tell by the above picture that this orange and green variety had no seeds germinate? I was SO disappointed. Then, I looked at the cells next to it…
Yes, this is what happens when you garden with a 2 and 5 year old! It will be a mystery of which is which!
Now that I figured out that I can start the seeds, my problem is going to be making sure that the plants don’t get “leggy.” I have them in the only Southern-facing window in our house and they do get sunlight. It would be really cool to have a grow light, but they just are not in a small gardener’s budget. For the time being, my kids are having fun pretending to be the “wind” and blowing on the seedlings whenever they have the chance. I’m trying to keep them moist and crossing my fingers for some healthy transplants!
For more of our kids in the garden posts with ideas on how to use your garden as a learning garden, click here!