Thursday, April 3, 2014

Seed Starters

This week has been gorgeous.  Positively what we needed!  Boo and I are sitting outside right now, in fact.  He's working on making some mud, while I'm trying to get some sun on my legs so that I don't blind anyone.  It's got to be close to 70 degrees.

Which means it's time to start on the garden!  Actually, if you were doing seeds inside, you could have started weeks ago.  I need to set some kind of alarm for next February to remind me to start the seeds early.  

Anyway, here's an easy (and relatively tidy) way to start some seeds on a sunny window sill in your house.  All you need are some cardboard egg cartons, seeds, tin foil, and either starter pods or some potting soil.  This is also a great way to preserve those sometimes pricey pods, as you'll be splitting them up.

I use cardboard egg cartons because they can be snipped into sections and put directly into the ground once the seedling is ready.  Or into a larger pot if the plant starts to outgrow the carton faster than the weather can shape up.

Cardboard, as you probably well know, is not waterproof.  So if you just sat your dirt and seeds in the egg carton and watered it, you'd pretty much end up with a compost pile in your window sill.  Unsurprisingly, this is not the desired outcome.

This is where the tin foil comes in.  First cut your carton in half.  Then line the inside of the top with tin foil (I suppose cling wrap would work too...?) and nestle the bottom down into the top.  Snap, she's a genius.

Now, if you have pods, unwrap them and break them in half.  Put a half in each egg hole (heh) and fill the carton to the brim with water.  Let it sit for about 10 minutes, or until all the water has absorbed.  I haven't done this with potting soil I must admit, but I imagine you'd just pour that in there.  Easy peezy.

Break apart the pods with your fingers.  If you get to the end and think there's not enough dirt, break one of the remaining halves into thirds and add an additional third to each compartment.  Also, if the pods don't break apart easily, add more water and wait for it to absorb.  If you get the soil completely saturated, that's okay too.  Germinating seeds like that.*
*(I did not know that.  I've always been afraid of drowning my seeds.  I got mad at 
one of my cartons, though, and flooded it repeatedly for a couple of days, and the plants SHOT out of the dirt.  Live and learn.)

Now at this point you might be thinking, "Uh, wouldn't it be easier to just stick a whole pod in each thing?  Gosh she's a cheap ass."

To which I would respond,     
No, it wouldn't be.  And yes, yes I am.

Here's the thing, the very first batch I did was a nightmare.  I stuck a pod in each one and almost immediately realized that that was not the best idear.  The pods lost more water than they retained, which means I ended up soaking them twice a day, and they were almost always dry when I came back.  They were also pretty hard, and the day that I took these pictures I realized that most, if not all of the seeds had started to hatch underneath the pods.  They couldn't burrow down into the packed soil, and that combined with the frequent waterings washed them away.
In tact pods compared to broken up ones.

In the end, though, both work.  But I find (as with many other situations in gardening...and life) that a bit of work up front saves you a hassle later on.  I can water the broken up pods once every other day and they stay saturated.  There were also seeds germinating in a matter of days with those.

Most of my 'maters pulled through.  This was today.  Oh, I almost forgot, the tab on the side makes a great spot to label what you've planted!  

Good luck with your Spring projects!
And may you have lovely weather as well.

No comments:

Post a Comment