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Time to Start Your Seeds!

If you haven't already, get your seeds started. We, in the cooler northern states, have a much shorter growing season than those living in areas fortunate enough to have longer growing seasons. Sigh. No worries, we can still get a good harvest but you must start now!

Yep, you see correctly. This year I thought I'd try starting my seeds in eggshells inside the egg carton. I wrote on each shell what seed was in there. When I move it into the garden, I'll just crush the shell a bit and bury the whole thing.

In the past I have not had good luck hardening off my seedlings. Hardening off is the process of acclimating the seedlings from indoors to outdoors, temperatures and lighting changes. In the past my seedlings have been started and growing nicely. Because of limited lighting they start getting "leggy". I try to put them out every day for a bit but inevitably I forget once and they freeze overnight OR the sun is too strong one day and everything dries up and dies. EVERY YEAR. Then I have to direct seed in mid to late May. EVERY YEAR. End result is always the same. Still get a bountiful harvest but the tomatoes and peppers barely ripen at end of August before it starts getting cold. Sigh. EVERY YEAR. You'd think I'd learn.

This year I have a new strategy. Got some grow lights. Started my seedlings about a month earlier. So far, so good! Seedlings look stronger and darker green than they have in the past. Some have their first set of true leaves, some starting to get their second set. Crossing fingers. I have them under the grow lights almost every day except when it is sunny out. Then I put them outside. Slow going but looking good. I'm hoping for the best.

Still waiting for some seeds to sprout but right now I have good starts on tomatoes, peppers, beans, kale, cucumbers, pumpkins, watermelon and zucchini. Oh, my peas have been sprouted and have been outside for a couple weeks already. They can handle the cooler temps. My herbs and aromatics came back and are looking strong - green onions, garlic, garlic chives, oregano, thyme, parsley and mint. Some of the potatoes plants are starting to poke up. When it warms up I'm sure the seeds from the basil and Korean perilla will sprout. Excited to get my ginger in the ground too. I've had good luck in the past but after doing some research, I found out I've been doing it wrong. So this year I'll do it right. Can't wait to get everything out there and in the ground to really start growing!

I've been outside checking on the beds and what I need to do to clean and prepare. Lots and too much. Raspberries, blueberries and strawberries are looking good. Just need cleanup. Make sure to clear out old dead canes, branches and leaves to encourage good air circulation to discourage any variety of diseases.

So, get your gardens started soon if you haven't already. A bit of prep work will reap big rewards throughout the summer!

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