Wednesday, February 4, 2009

Seed Starting Summary

I'm about to start my seeds. The cold-frame is almost built, the seeds are on my desk. I only have to gather containers and pick up some starting mix. By this weekend, all should be ready to go. I am thinking of starting some broccoli seeds directly in the cold frame as well as inside the apartment.

Cornell Cooperative Extension -Suffolk County has a fact sheet on starting seeds indoors. Since seed starting is not something I have done indoors since 1995, I gave it a perusal. I think I get it.
In short:
  • don't start too soon
  • use clean containers
  • use clean soil-less starting mix
  • keep evenly moist
  • have appropriate warmth
  • strong light after germination
  • harden-off outside before transplanting
Thats it in a nutshell.

If you don't have a south facing (must be south and unblocked by buildings!!) window, you won't have enough light to grow strong, stout-stemmed seedlings. They'll be what is called "leggy", pale-colored, and generally flopping over. You'll need some florescent lights hung roughly an inch over your germinated seeds. For a great conversation about seed starting, check out this post at Simple-Green-Frugal Co-op. Its the only way, unless you winter sow outdoors. I'm interested in this method, and will try a tomato out to see what happens, but I cannot rely on it until the experiment is concluded. Anybody out there with this experience in our zone?

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If I do not respond to your comment right away, it is only because I am busy pulling out buckthorn, creeping charlie, and garlic mustard...