Seed Starting

I used to make a small garden when I was a child. I loved watching the little plants grow, tending them and having wonderful vegetables to eat when they were ripe – even though we shared a lot of the harvest with the local bunny population.

I started gardening again as an adult when my kids were little.  At first I’d buy a few starter plants, maybe tomatoes and cucumbers and put them in a small garden area.  The results varied but it was still a fun project for us to do together.

As the years have gone on, I’ve gotten more serious about my gardening and try to learn and grow something new each year.  My gardens have always been organic but I’ve learned more as I’ve got along about natural fertilizers, making compost and foliar feeding.  I’ve usually grown a few plants from seed; sometimes herbs or various other plants, but I decided a few years ago that I wanted to try growing everything I plant in my garden from seed. 

And you know, it’s really easy.  There’s a great company, Gardener’s Supply. They are employee owned and have a number of wonderful and very inexpensive seed starting kits.  I’ve tried a few over the years but the one I’m using this year – as I have limited space at the greenhouse window in my kitchen is this one: http://www.gardeners.com/Beginner-Seedstarting-Kit/SeedstartingKits_Cat,37-933,default,cp.html

You can buy the units separately but I do like to use their germinating mix as well.  And you can use the seed starter over again each year. I do start some plants right in the garden but I’m starting 8 different types of tomatoes, 3 types of peppers and 3 types of cucumbers in my kitchen this year.

As you can see from the picture, once the plants grow too big I transplant them into small nursery pots and then start another batch in the seed starter.  In a few weeks when they’ve grown a bit more I’ll give them some hours outside during the day and once they’re hardened off (used to being outside), I’ll plant them. I have two raised beds but I also use a lot of large pots and have found some things like peppers and tomatoes grow as well or even better in those.

As large corporations like Monsanto try to patent all the seeds they can, it makes it even more important that we grow and save our own seeds.  There are a number of places you can get wonderful organic and heirloom seeds from:

http://www.seedsofchange.com/  – Seeds of Change. They are owned by M&M Mars now but they carry only organic, GMO free seeds and have over 1200 varieties of vegetables, herbs and flowers.

http://www.groworganic.com/  – This is Peaceful Valley farm and garden supply and they have a wonderful selection of seeds, fruit tree and other supplies for your organic garden.

http://www.sustainableseedco.com/ I just found this one recently. They have a nice selection of heirloom seeds and are very reasonably priced as well.

If you want to learn to save your own seeds, I highly recommend Seed to Seed – the link to Amazon is below.

It’s easy to grow your own vegetables and it’s a great activity to share with your children. In my experience it gives them a greater appreciation for vegetables because there is nothing more delicious then food just picked from your own garden.  Happy Gardening!

Read more great, Pennywise Platter Thursday posts here:  http://www.thenourishinggourmet.com/2010/03/pennywise-platter-thursday-6.html

Read more great, Real Food Wednesday posts here: http://kellythekitchenkop.com/2010/03/real-food-wednesday-32410.html

If you happened to read this article the first week I wrote it, you’ll notice I took out my recommendation for Seedsavers Exchange.  This is why:

http://beginningfarmers.org/seed-savers-exchange-the-new-real-story-including-intrigue-deception-the-doomsday-vault-excerpt-of-a-letter-from-its-founder/

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