Tuesday, February 7, 2012

Early Spring Seed Starting

It's that time of the year when each night before bed I pore over seed catalogs, dreaming of the garden. It's how I make it through these long dark winter months.
This year I plan to start a new vegetable garden next to the garage and the driveway. It's a narrow space, but it gets direct sunlight for most of the day.  The back bed gets shade in the afternoon, so it will be used to grow lettuce and other cool season crops. More about the garden plan in future posts!
I've had problems in the past with damping off (the fungal disease that can kill young seedlings). It is caused by over watering. So this year I'm making sure to only bottom water the flats and will wait a little longer between watering's. Hopefully all of these little seedlings will survive until it's time to transplant!
This the new basement seed starting set up. I used this wire shelving for kitchen storge in my last house. Thanks to a nice sized pantry in the new house it was going unused.
On the top shelf some seeds are germinating on a heat mat. Our basement is small and stays warm (around 65 degrees).
The bottom two shelves are lit by shop lights hung with chain and "S" hooks.
As the plants grow I will raise the lights higher and higher, always maintaining a 1-2 inch space between the lights and the tops of the plants.

Varieties planted so far:
Cauliflower, Early White Hybrid
Broccoli, Calabrese Green Sprouting
Onion, Ringmaster
Onion, Flat of Italy
Lettuce, Paris Island Romaine
Lettuce, Red Romaine
Lettuce, Bibb
Lettuce, Black Seeded Simpson
Kale, Dwarf Blue Curled
Swiss Chard, Large Ribbed Dark Green
Swiss Chard, Ruby Red
Spinach, Salad Fresh Hybrid
Kohlrabi, White Vienna


  1. What a great idea! I love to follow your blog.

    We had a *warm* December and January, followed by a very freezing first week of February. Hydrangea already showed its first buds, I hope they will survive -9.4° Fahrenheit.

    I am planning a new butterfly garden - will keep you in the loop.


    1. Thanks Vera, I look forward to hearing more about your butterfly garden! the plants and birds here are very confused by the very mild winter we've had. I've already had bulbs bloom several months too early.