Monday, April 9, 2012

Starting seeds Indoors

One of my favourite things to do in the midst of cold-and-snowy-winter is to dream of spring and gardening and things blooming and coming back to life.  This year as I perused the seed catalogs and  dreamed of life-after-winter I wondered how I could WIN with starting my own seeds.  Last year was a horrible-dismal failure.  I threw everything out and bought my tomato and pepper plants, planted a few seeds and did better than I expected in the end.  THIS year I want to learn some more and do better yet.  So I set up my seed-growing operation on wire metal shelving and added shop lights with the proper light bulbs.  I saw these in the catalog - the prices were more than I could justify - but the idea was GREAT.

I didn't keep very good records of exactly how much it cost - probably somewhere quite north of the cost of the plants I bought last year.  I still have high hopes that I will save some money since some of the peppers are already sprouting but I am a realist so upwards and onwards - any progress is better than none!  I am grateful that most of my purchases are re-usable from year to year.

After last years disaster I read up on starting seeds and discovered that the MOST common problem was starting them too soon.  I can see it happening - we all just want to see something green in January... so I waited until April.  This year seems like a joke.  We've hardly had a "normal" winter this year -  I wore shorts in March in Ontario.  I did restrain myself however and ignored the beautiful weather that jump-started my desire to just start planting outside. Well - I did enjoy the weather - I just didn't plant anything.

My indoor light garden now holds organic yellow peppers, a miniature pepper, several kinds of organic tomatoes, peas, marigolds, petunias and several kinds of herbs.  Considering that I bought 11 tomato plants and 6 pepper plants last year I should be well supplied with 260 starts.  I have yet to figure out where I am going to put them IF they all come up and don't die in the mean time.

I really should be out in the garden getting it ready while it's still dry enough to work out there.  That was my other mistake last year.  I left it too late and when I finally HAD-TO-DO-SOMETHING because it was JUNE I got a neighbour to roto-till the garden for me.  After all the spring rain it was too wet and eventually it all turned into concrete because the roto-tiller took all the air pockets out of the dirt. 

That we ate anything out of the garden last year was a miracle.  I will probably need another one this year - but isn't that what it's all about?  Every spring as winter recedes while spring pushes it's way through until the day comes when you no longer fear that it's going to snow - that's a miracle.  That's REAL spring.   I'm still waiting for REAL spring while watching my seedlings sprout and counting the days till the last weekend of May when I can plant without fear of frost.

I have so many plans.  I want to try straw bale gardening in some places, I need to move the chicken coop litter to the garden, I want to build fences and trellis's for tomatoes, I need to build a structure for the raspberry bushes.  I want to plant more fruit trees and bushes. I want to make  rain barrel system out of an old barrel and attach some soaker hoses...and on and on it goes.  One day at a time and if I get half of it done this year maybe that will be enough.  

I know MOM - Rome wasn't built in a day!


  1. What a wonderful Easter weekend I have spent reading ALL of your posts!
    I have just started my plants indoors as well including Heritage Brandywine tomatoes, marigolds, etc. with more to come.
    Thanks for sharing....I'm a new subscriber.

  2. HI Grammom - so glad you're enjoying the posts. I've been checking out yours too :)

  3. This really reminds me why we are so blessed to be in Florida, at least with the garden. We planted everything in February this year, and with very little trouble are now picking. We'll take a summer break due to the heat and hummidity and do a second garden in the fall. We might do a winter garden this year, we'll have to see.

  4. Three season gardening - ahhhh...that would be interesting! I guess even four would be possible depending on what you're growing...what are you picking now?

  5. Every year that you don't have to buy plants for the garden will save you money and offset the costs of the lights. The bulbs last a really long time so your only ongoing expense is the power to run them. Of course, using fluorescent bulbs is fairly minimal in regards to power usage. Over the next few years, you will eventually get those lights to pay for themselves. I have something similar planned for next spring, once the extension is built so that I have a place to put it. Unfortunately, I don't have all those sunny window sills that my parents used to start tomato plants every year!


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