Thursday, February 28, 2013

Time to Plant the Tomatoes! I Love Starting Seeds.

There may be snow on the ground, but there are tomato seeds growing on my greenhouse sunporch! In my particular zone of the USA, mid to late February is the perfect time to start the tomato seeds. You want nice, healthy starts by the time May 3rd gets here, so that they can go right into the garden! I listed some of the seeds I've started on the back of this envelope. I thought this would be fun to trim out and make a page of it in my art journal. I can draw flowers all around it!
Seed packets from the store

I don't know why, but last year I had ordered some fairly expensive Burpee seeds, and they didn't do well at all. In fact, it was the 20-cent to one-dollar seed packets I picked up at the store that did the best of all. So, this year, that's what I'm going with. I've spent less than five bucks, and already have enough for my kitchen garden.

I like my kitchen garden to have a lot of diversity--vegetables and herbs mixed together, cutting flowers, and marigolds in every corner to guard them all. Marigolds have natural antioxidants and can actually protect against some diseases.

Tomatoes and leeks take the longest to grow--so I've started several pots. It's good to cover them and keep them warm and moist until they sprout up, and then after that they need sunshine. Sometime in April when I have healthy starts, I will take them all outside during the day to begin hardening them off before they go live in the garden. My goodness, it's like having children!
I can't wait to put those radish seeds straight into the garden in March! The lettuces too.
I am starting some basil seeds right in this egg carton. I can close the lid to keep them warm until they sprout up!

Basil seeds are tiny and they don't mind being in a small container. I've got 18 started here. In May, I'll put the starts in the garden around their companion tomato plants, and then all summer long I'll keep throwing more basil seeds in the garden so that I constantly have a supply of fresh young basils for my pesto, pasta and salads. Can you tell I love basil just a little?

I use all kinds of ways to label everything--clothespins, Popsicle sticks, and old plant markers. This is a tray of big boy hybrid tomato seeds--so I just clipped one clothespin to it. These pots are big enough so that I don't have to transplant the seedlings when they get bigger.
The top shelf of my potting bench--although I do the dirty work here, I keep it very fun and festive too.
I have used everything you can imagine for pots to start my seedlings. Some years I do buy those nice seed-starting trays, but this year I am using what I have on hand and improvising too--there is no need to spend a bundle when you are starting seeds. Use pudding or yogurt cups washed out with a hole punched in the bottom for drainage, half-pint milk cartons (like we did in grade school) and recycle those plastic pots you buy starts in--it all works great, and is worth the trouble to grow food not lawns!

Eat, Write, Dream, and Stitch in the sun.



  1. Oh I wish we were neighbours, I'd share my seeds with you! I've just been sorting out my supplies too...that egg box idea is brilliant!
    Hugs, LLJ xxxx

  2. I still have a few weeks before I can start. I'm jealous. Beautiful glass bird.