Monday, March 11, 2013

Seed-Starting Part 1: Seedy Saturday

This past weekend we enjoyed Spring-like temperatures and celebrated Seedy Saturday at Evergreen Brickworks. As the weather warmed up everyone around the market was getting pumped and eager to start their Summer gardens, myself included.  I even gave myself a head start and bought seeds and the right soil early so that I could collect all the supplies I needed to start my seedlings sooner.   This year, as always, I like to find greener ways to start my seeds, which would not only be environmentally friendly but would also save me money.

Some easy-to-find and recycable supplies you can use to start your seedlings include:
  • Egg cartons, tomato or avocado cartons (the purple stuff in the picture above)
  • Plastic trays from previous year seedlings
  • Spinach/salad plastic containers
  • Newspapers
  • Egg shells (optional)
What you may need to buy:
  • Seeds (if you don't save your seeds from the previous year's crops)
  • Seedling soil
  • Plastic wrap (to cover the starters before they sprout)
Once you have all the supplies you need it's just a matter of figuring out what needs to be started when.  This weekend I started tomatoes (a bit early), peppers, eggplant, and a variety of herbs.  To find out when you need to start your plants check out Ontario's Ministry of Agriculture and Food website.

Essentially, when starting your seedlings you want to create a little "greenhouse" more or less.  Covering the soil/seeds with plastic wrap, leaving a few gaps for air, will keep moisture and heat in to help them germinate quicker.

Most importantly, label your starters! Once the seedlings spring up they will all look very alike and it would be near impossible to tell them apart until they reached maturity.

Another great option for creating a mini "greenhouse" would be to use a salad container.  In this case, I drilled holes on the lid to allow air/oxygen to pass through to the soil and seeds, also important.

And if you're really lucky, after just a few days you will see a few seedlings pop up!  Once they do appear they will of course need light.  Place your seedlings in a sunny spot where they will get at least 10-12 hours of light or more if possible.  Natural sunlight can be unpredictable so some people will add a light to the seedlings to aid consistent growth.


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