When starting seeds indoors in preparation for a new growing season ahead, germination times and number of weeks to grow inside before last frost date are factors that need to be considered. The cat that lives with us (no ownership implied) can hardly believe that there are only 12 weeks until that magic week (May 10-15 for me) when we can safely and happily plant outside.
Parsley, datura and sweet peas have already been planted in small plastic rectangular packs lined on the bottom with newspaper to keep soil from pouring out the drainage holes. I also try to get creative and “green” in this regard. While I do have flats purchased for the purpose of sowing seeds, with handsome plastic dome covers, I also like to reuse lettuce and vegetable containers with good ventilation holes. Empty vegetable and fruit containers from the grocery store are a great way to save money on containers. They work like little incubators; just be sure they have good drainage.
Today I am sorting through the seeds to organize weekly sowing and separating out the seeds that like to be sown directly in the ground, like nasturtium
This is a clue as to where I have gone wrong in ordering my seeds. Did I think I was going to open a roadside stand for lettuce?
One of my raised beds is in a partially shaded area and the lettuce LOVES to be protected from harsh late afternoon sun, and thus rewards me with big bountiful leaves. I love to experiment with different types. Don’t laugh about the roadside stand – it works with my bounty of dahlias. When my family can’t walk through the house without bumping into cut dahlias, it is time to give away, and I have set up a table by the roadside for passersby. The table is always empty at the end of the day!
When I sow the lettuce inside, I like to use large flats and thickly sow the seed in rows. They seem to love to grow closely at first, and then they can be moved in clumps outdoors. Lettuce is planted first in my garden, and usually goes out in April, far ahead of the more tender tomatoes, cucumbers, etc.
When my seeds start to sprout, I begin to worry about giving them enough light….another post for future.
P.S. Some seeds like to be warmed from the bottom to germinate, and I have used special, expensive heating pads in the past. But you can use radiators…again get creative! (Don’t tell my exacting horticulture friends….but some years I forgo the bottom heating altogether. )