Wednesday, March 28, 2012

Seed Starting

Today James and I started seeds.  Since this is my first year delving into vegetable gardening, I didn't want to buy too many seeds until I get a better handle on starting and transplanting them.  As a result, I only got a few packages and the majority can be direct-sown later on in the spring.  But I wanted to get a jump on a few, and so we started with a few different seeds today.

Two years ago my dad and I were going to plant a garden at my parents' cottage, but we didn't end up doing it.  I did, however, buy about $50.00 worth of seeds to plant in the garden-that-wasn't.  So since I still had them, I thought I'd try planting a few this year in order to save on seed and seedling purchasing expenses.  Unfortunately, they weren't stored with any particular care or concern; they were left in a shoebox in our basement laundry room.  It is cool down there, but I don't know if it was cool enough to keep them viable!  To be honest, I don't know how seeds should be stored (I haven't had to store any yet so I have yet to research it!).  So many of these might not actually germinate, but hopefully by starting them early enough I will figure out which ones won't work and I'll just replace those later on.  There's no harm in giving it a shot!

Checking out the packages to decide what he'd like to plant.
As you can see, we have been saving toilet paper rolls and then cutting them in half for planting.  I wanted to use something that we already had that would have been thrown in compost (for Waste Watch, I don't have a compost pile yet) and that would be biodegradable, so that each seedling could be planted as it is in its "pot".  James found the process of filling the rolls up with seed starting mix by using a spoon to be "boring".  He was excited to get started planting.

A little too bright, but I wanted to include his little hand planting the seeds.

We started with organic San Marzano tomato seeds.  These were one of the packages that I bought two years ago, but I really hope that they do germinate and grow fairly successfully.  We were generous with how many seeds we put in each roll so even if the germination rate is lower, as long as some do germinate, we should be ok.  After we planted the tomato seeds, my young assistant's enthusiasm waned.  I guess that's about what you can expect from a three-year-old who has to listen to at least a couple of instructions from his mother.

After that we planted sweet basil, and early sugar pie pumpkin seeds.  The basil was also an old package but the pumpkin is new.  I am also going to plant another sugar pumpkin variety that a friend gave me after saving her seeds last year.

I didn't really think ahead about this, I just decided to do it today while Sus was napping.  So I didn't really have anything to stick in the pots as labels.  I am actually confident that I can tell the difference between pumpkin, tomato, and basil seedlings (as those are all we planted today), but just to be on the safe side, I figured we should whip up some sort of labelling system.

 Our "labelled" seedlings
I grabbed a container of toothpicks and three different coloured permanent markers and set to work.  Red is tomatoes, green for basil, and black (the leftover colour) is for pumpkins.  James perked up a little bit when we got to this step, he loved putting the tomato labels in but wasn't as excited about basil and pumpkin until he decided that I was doing it wrong and he had better take over for the sake of the seedlings.

I have been reading blog post after blog post of seed starting tips lately so hopefully some of it will stick and I'll be able to raise something successfully!  We are definitely not going to be dependent on our garden this year, but I like to hope that with a few years' practice, I'll eventually be able to supply our family with a large proportion of our produce needs!


  1. I hope these germinate for you Rosie! As always happy to see my sweet nephew assisting on your projects!

  2. It looks like he is doing a wonderful job!

  3. The colored toothpicks are ingenious! It's really time for me to start some seeds too. I miss the days of having such an adorable and able helper. :)

  4. Tiffany @ No Ordinary HomesteadMarch 31, 2012 at 11:40 PM

    You got a cute hand helper ;). Very nice thought using the toilet paper rolls as seed starters and toothpicks with colors as seed markers. I have my seed starters too but I used the flat plastic bins. I have lists of seeds and seed starting soil. Too excited to see their leaves pop through the soil. I actually host a weekly gardening link up every Friday on my blog. I'd love for you to drop by and join in.

  5. Thanks! I'm glad to hear that my desperate last-minute attempt to find some sort of labelling system has met with approval. :) And I really enjoy having my handsome little helper, the hugs and kisses that go along with planting aren't bad either. Tiffany, I'd love to join in! Hopefully I'll have something interesting to contribute soon as gardening season gets rolling. :)


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