I’ve declared that this is the year I will NOT buy GMO and hybrid plant starts from the garden center, but start my own plants indoors using heirloom seeds I’ve collected over the years from Bakers Heirloom Seed Company. Some of the seeds were several years old so I put them on moist paper towels before planting to see if they were viable. The cabbage and broccoli sprouted within three days. The lavender seeds are still in the sprouter. I’m not sure how those are going to work out.
Starting seeds indoors gives us a jump on the garden season. Broccoli and cabbage can be put in the garden well before the last expected frost date. More tender plants like tomatoes and cucumbers can also be easily started indoors but keeping them inside for too long makes leggy plants, so those will be started in Feb.
I am in zone 7a, which is a southern zone with a long growing season, so I could easily plant most things directly in the garden if I wanted to, but I’m hoping that by putting plants out a little earlier, I’ll be able to avoid some of the pests that are common to broccoli and cabbage. Last year the garden contained mostly tomatoes, which grew beautifully until just about ripe, at which point they were devoured by hungry deer.
I like these tiny celled flats to start seeds in. They are meant to fill with dirt and then plant a single seed or in my case, a single sprout, into each cell. It’s tedious and time consuming but the plants are easier to separate into larger pots when they are big enough. I got mine off ebay for around $5 each. They are sturdy and will last forever.
Once the tiny plants start coming up, don’t let them dry out! The cells are small and with the dry, indoor winter air, I’ve found that the biggest challenge is keeping them moist.Planting heirloom seeds reduces our dependency on chemicals and fertilizers, plus lets those GMO companies and the hybridization folks know that we prefer our food “real”.
- Seed Starting- Early Season Crops (gocstoresblog.com)