Monday, February 15, 2010

Seed Starting

I am starting my regular early planting for the spring. This is the time of year that for Zone 7b I begin many plants such as Peppers, Tomatoes, Marigolds, Leeks and 4 O'clocks. This promises me a longer growing season and an earlier bloom then direct sowing. Though, for many plants, direct sowing is the best bet (root veggies, cool season veggies like lettuce, poppies and larkspur do better for me directly sown into my beds.).

So there are several things I did this year that work the best for me I want to share. Part of which are available in my latest garden article.


"Sowing Your Seeds

Gardening — By Shannon on February 11, 2010 at 12:30 pm
If you’ve already selected seeds for your spring garden, you may be wondering what to do next.
The first step is to read the package carefully, since it will note if the seeds are best for direct sowing or starting indoors. more... "

Now, there are lots of comments, articles and research available on peat moss... which I mention in my article. This has been the most common choice for a long time, it is the MAIN item available in nurseries and home improvement stores. Peat moss is depleting along with the bog / wetlands where it is harvested. With that said, you should read up on it and decide on a different route for your seed starting options. Here's a little more on the depletion of peat moss.Article - "Gather No Moss?"

Now on where to start them!

I use SEVERAL methods for mine. Here's 1. I have window sills that face south and near heat vents. I have to water often, but it keeps them warm and the sun is enough to keep them going until spring. I also use a heating pad to get those tricky seeds to germinate. Like Beans and Peppers like the soil about 70-80 degrees to germinate. I remove the heating pad after the sprout.

Option 2, in my bathroom I keep a rack with a 100 watt light about 12"-18" away from my started seedlings. These seedlings germinated without light to start, then I keep the light on for a 'day' cycle. So it goes on when I get up, and off when I go to bed. I'm trying to simulate natural light for when I move the plants outside.

Option 3, we created a mini greenhouse/cold frame where I move all the seeds in peat pots right out to. I water every couple of days, and on cold days or nights I fill a milk jug with hot water and put it inside for extra warmth.

Option 3 takes the longest to germinate... but I don't have to prepare these seedlings for transplant as much as I have to do with my other seedling starts from in the house.

I hope these options are helpful!

But today I planted one of my favorite additions to my garden, French Marigolds. These are 1/2 in the house, and 1/2 in the greenhouse. These are one of my favorite choices to use for companion planting. They help keep several bugs out of your garden... such as white fly. They help with tomato hornworm I was told as well, I planted them with my tomatoes (and Basil) and was pleasantly surprised I was hornworm free last year.


Fair warning though, don't plant these guys next to Beans in your garden... 


  1. I like your mine Greenhouse and I love french marigolds... I love marigolds period :) I'll have to tell my husband about planting them with the tomatoes, cool. We start most of our plants in a water bed thing.

  2. Hubby did a fabulous job with the mini greenhouse! He's my hero!

    Would you like some of these marigold seeds? Let me know! You can PM me on BYC and I'll send you a packet of them.