Seeds to Start Workshop

A lot has happened since my last post – we wrapped up our fall dig-ins in September, we had our annual Fall Festival in October, we held a gardening workshop in November, and completed part 1 of our Seeds to Start (STS) workshop a couple of weeks ago.

I’d like to post a few notes and photos from the first STS workshop so folks can see the progress of the plants before the 2nd workshop in a week or so. Next week, I’ll go back in time and post some pictures from the wonderful Fall Festival we held at Boggy Creek Farm in October.

There was a great turnout for STS in spite of the cold morning – about 18 brave souls joined us to start seeds for our spring gardens. We started a couple of varieties of tomatoes including the yummy heirloom, Brandywine and some Sweet 100 cherries. We also started peppers and eggplant.

We followed our usual process of starting the seeds in flats lined with newspaper using Vortex Germinator soil from The Natural Gardener. A couple of us divided the flats up and each brought 5 of them home to sprout. If all goes well, we’ll return them on the 26th for the second workshop to transplant to individual 4 inch pots.

I have a few pictures below from the workshop and 1 of my setup at home with warming mats to keep the soil temp where these spring veggies need it – around 70 degrees. I use fluorescent lights with standard bulbs (not grow lights), but as I’ve described before, I use 1 cool and 1 warm bulb to provide a more complete spectrum. Now that they’ve sprouted I can take the flats outside on warm days to get the real thing. Even soil moisture is essential during germination so I keep a spray bottle close by. All of this is tucked away on a tarp under a table with the lights hanging from string.

Keep in mind that this same process works well on a smaller scale for your home gardens. You can use a variety of containers if you don’t have flats including egg and milk cartons. You can also sow the seeds directly into 4 inch pots either by putting 3 or 4 seeds in each pot and keeping the strongest – this removes the need to transplant later. Alternatively, you can start 10 or 15 seeds in each pot and transplant them to individual pots once they sprout the 2nd set of leaves – usually in a few weeks. Keep the soil warm and evenly moist and keep the lights close to the pots once they sprout. This is a great way to always have plants ready to go in the ground when the weather is right.

As I mentioned, I’ll post some pictures from our festival next week and otherwise, hope to see you at the 2nd STS workshop or our spring dig-ins. We’ll also have another gardening workshop coming up – visit our website for more information or to register for these events.

David–

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