12 April 2011

in which i jump up and down and scream {or just plant some seeds}

i started seeds! okay, so maybe this isn't nearly as exciting to anyone else as it is to me.  but OH MY GOD I PLANTED SOMETHING! this fact is exciting to me for a few reasons.  number one, as much as i loved it until a month ago, this feels like it has been the longest winter ever.  number two, thus far i have never been very successful with indoor seed starting yet i am incredibly hopeful for this year's attempts.  and number three, it feels so freaking incredible to get an idea for a project, plan it out, and just do it.  really. such a good feeling, i highly recommend it.  

a bit of background: the first spring after we moved to mn was the first year i gardened.  it was 2007.  i got a copy of you grow girl and went for it.  although, i didn't exactly follow the instructions closely and just figured that our sunny kitchen would suffice for my little indoor tomato seedlings.  wrong.  they were very leggy and barely survived and didn't turn out to be very productive.  jump ahead to 2008 and repeat.  the following two years, i gave up on the seed starting and just direct sowed seeds outdoors and supplemented with plants purchased at the farmer's market.  this was my plan for this year too (you know, making an effort to acknowledge that i probably have too much on my plate to start another project).  but there i was, reviewing my already-placed seed order, when i realized that kale (which was a total flop last year) is actually supposed to be started indoors early.  what?! who knew?  so of course the fact that i needed to start my kale seeds early turned into setting up a full blown operation in my basement.  not to mention, an excuse to start a whole slew of other plants early too.  

so here is my setup.  it is based largely on this post.   i have no plants that i overwintered and i didn't start that many seedlings, so i'm just using a crappy thrifted table that was serving as a laundry folding station.  i think next year, i'll need to upgrade to a full on shelf.  aside from the table, here is what my setup required:
2 fluorescent shop lights ($10.99 each at the hardware store).
2 fluorescent bulbs- i already had 2 on hand ($3.99 each at the hardware store)
1 timer for the lights
a length of chain and some S-hooks
2 boot trays- i already had one ($7.99/each at the hardware store)
2 heating pads ($55)
a cut-up garbage bag to cover the seedlings
seed starting soil mixture ($10 for 2 bags)
re-used plastic pots from all those plants i've bought over the years

 so...what did i plant?
cherokee purple tomatoes
ace bush tomatoes
yellow pear tomatoes
bull nose bell peppers
jalapeno peppers
lacinato kale
scotch blue curly kale
red russian kale
five color silverbeet chard

it took me about three hours to plant all these seedlings and get the operation set up, which i think is pretty good.  i started this a little over a week ago, and almost everything is sprouting now except for a couple of peppers.  this past weekend, i added another tray consisting of: mn midget melon (like muskmelon, i think), sugarbaby watermelon, zinnia, calendula, and marigolds.  i was contemplating starting squash and cucumbers too, but i'm not positive yet.  i've never started squash early (always just direct seeded) but i figure i might as well get a jump on it, which may give me the opportunity to plant something else after it's finished producing later in the summer.  or at least give it a longer time period for producing.  (i've recently read that cukes don't like to be transplanted, so maybe i'll just direct seed those afterall- any tips out there?)

so there you have it.  the beginnings of possibly my craziest gardening year yet.  i've got so many new ideas for this year, i feel like i'm going to burst.  all i can hope for now is that this excitement (and the energy to carry it out) lasts throughout the summer.  

also, i've got a very exciting garden-related collaborative project in the works that will hopefully be revealed in the next week or two.  i can't wait to share it with you all.  

what are you all growing these days?


  1. !!!! i am just so impressed. i cannot wait to see what you have up your sleeve ;)

  2. Way to go! I have a very similar set up in my basement but it hasn't been used in so many years that it's been covered in junk and cobwebs. I was thinking that I'd try to clear it out by next year. We do have 1 seed started - a carrot (which you're not supposed to start indoors, but 1 morning I found Seth on the back porch with all the supplies he needed so I wasn't going to say no). I have however purchased seeds for the easter baskets - blue pumpkins (which I don't have room for), sunflowers, lettuces, corn (seth's request).