Tag Archives: seedling starting

Mid May Already??? And Seedling Update!

Hi Friends!

It’s been more than a minute since I’ve even logged on to my blog. A couple weeks ago I thought I was getting my feet back under me, only to totally disappear all of last week again. Ugh! I’m soooo sorry!

Life happens tho. Am I right? Anyone else totally surprised to fully  partially comprehend that we are officially half way through the month of May? If I’m honest, I think part of my brain is still stuck in late March.

So much is happening around here. It is Spring, after all! And with Spring comes much to be done. Battling Colorado weather (you never know what you’re going to get), I’ve been trying to take advantage of every opportunity to get outside and get things rolling in my veggie and flower gardens. I’ll have much to update you on in the coming weeks…

I think I promised many, many weeks ago, an update on the seedling project. With Spring planting upon us the seedling project has mostly wrapped up so this is more a final post on the project than it is an update, but as I indicated above, time is flying by.

I’m quiet pleased with how the seedling project ended up. There were lessons learned, for sure, but it was mostly a success. A success very much felt <by my bank account> as I checked out at the nursery last week. I had to buy very few plants — and if I hadn’t had a total lapse in judgment, I’d have bought even fewer than what I ended up needing. As I said, lessons learned.

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As my seedling project wrapped up, I took care to acclimate my plants to the outdoors before sticking them in the ground (a step I’ve mostly neglected in the past – and likely the reason my previous attempts have been such a disaster).  I think a solid week of acclimation is the way to go. Find a place that gets some sun (but isn’t blazing hot) and is somewhat protected from the wind and just let the plants sit. Remember that being outdoors will also likely mean you need to water a little more frequently – but only do so when the soil has mostly dried out.

Where I went wrong was with my veggie plants. My tomatoes were struggling anyway (for reasons unknown) but my pepper and cucumber plants were going crazy….and then I put them outside too early. Well, not too early, but had my head been on straight, when the weather cooled off again (and didn’t warm up for 2 straight days) I should have brought them back in…which I didn’t….which is the reason I had to buy new pepper and tomato plants (GRR!) and will be a month and a half behind with my cucumbers (double GRR!). Oh well.

Everything else is doing wonderfully – I’ve even planted quite a few of my seedling babies and they are going strong. Aside from a couple plant varieties that didn’t come up at all (?) I’d mark my first run at this project a HUGE success and will probably look to expand on my efforts next year!

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Did anyone else take on a seedling project? Any final notes or updates from your end?

Happy Planting!
H

 


Seedlings: Getting Started

Last week I shared with you a tidbit about the seedling project I have started this winter. If you missed that post, you can read it here.

Today I wanted to share with you how I went about getting started, and what eqiupment I’ve purchased — at least for now. As I mentioned previously, I’m sorta learning as I go and it’s really unknown what twists and turns this thing will take (and whether or not I’ll really have any success)!

I started planning for my seedling project last summer, and spent a great deal of time looking for unique seeds and the best prices. It’s not necessary for you to spent as much time, or for online ordering, unless you want some unique and cool stuff…in which case, unless you have a super cool store locally to purchase seeds, online becomes a necessity. Local nurseries carry seeds, as do places like Walmart and Home Depot so they are easily accessible.

So, first and foremost, pick out what flowers or veggies you want to grow and purchase those seeds. I ordered lots of catalogs online, and things I knew I wanted but couldn’t find in the catalogs I did some internet searching for (I’ll do a post another time about a site I found that has the uniquest seeds, that come beautifully packaged, from overseas).

Then, determine the approximate date you will want to plant outdoors. Using a calendar, count back the number of days until bloom (instructions on back of seed packets, or google for this info)–this is when you will want to get your seeds started indoors. I’m planting lots of different varieties and there is a wide range of start dates, especially since some will go in the greenhouse in April, while others have to wait until after Mother’s Day for outdoor planting. A simple calendar with the calculations already done has helped keep me on track for getting the ball rolling indoors.

I did a rough calculation of how many of each variety I will want to plant outdoors. This is important as you will need to have an idea of how many seedling starter pod spaces you will need. Then I purchased these starter kits made by Burpee, and bought online from their store:
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I bought both the regular (for most of the flowers) and extra large size (for veggies). I intend to do another post with my feedback on these handy kits – for now, just know I’m pleased with them.

My online cliffs notes education also informed me that there are 3 essential elements for successful seedling growth:
1) Light – 16 hrs per day
2) Water – consistent moisture, balancing too dry versus too wet, hence the reason for the starter kits that are self-watering.
3) Heat

So my setup looks like this (beware, terrible picture to follow):
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I found this heat mat on amazon.com for MUCH cheaper than I could find anywhere else. If I’m remembering correctly, it was about $35. It’s actually a bit too big for my current operation, but I believe <or hope> I will quickly ‘grow into it’ – pun intended!

The plant light came from Home Depot, to the tune of $50. The store carries them in stock; in the department where other industrial-type lighting is stocked. I also bought a timer to control the 16 hrs per day lighting requirement, and highly recommend you do the same if you are embarking on a similar journey. It just makes things easier.

So, here’s your ‘getting started’shopping checklist:
-seeds
-calendar (these can be printed for free online)
-seedling starter kits
-heat mat
-plant light
-timer

And, your ‘getting started’ to do list:
-select seeds
-purchase supplies
-calculate starting times for each seed variety

So…that’s that!

Happy Planning!!!
H