Sunday, February 7, 2010

Starting Seeds for the Urban Farm

We offically put our house on the market last week with For Sale by Owner. However, I dont know if you have heard but the housing market is not doing so well right now.

starting seeds indoors, seed started kit
So we are initiating plan "B" which is also know as plan "staying sane while we wait". We are getting ready for spring time, which means getting seeds started. Which is also a valuable farm skill. For as many years as I have been gardening I have never really been that successful with seedlings.

The main downfalls and ultimately deaths of my seedlings have been as follows.
1: They grow great but then get real long and spindly
2: If they make it past 1 then i forget to water them and a bright sunny day "melts" them.
3: the few and the strong that make it past 1 and 2 are then transplanted outside. once outside they die from the shock and most likely from all of the stress that their little young lives have seen.
4: and from 1,2, and 3 that survive, which is probably about 1% some thing eats them or the frost gets them.

The best way to succeed is to know your weakness and plan for it. I am pretty confident that the real problem is the starting of the seeds. Generally once a plant is outside in the dirt and in good condition I can get it to thrive. Today we started some seeds and after much research I have found a few errors in previous seed rearing years.
1: not enough light. seedlings need about 14 hours of light and setting them next to a window will not working in the winter they need more light than that and stronger light.
Solution- I am going with two 60w grow light set on a timer for 14 hours a day. away from a window.
2:No fertilizer. We are big about the whole organic thing. i have two big piles of compost out there in the garden waiting for the spring garden and I never use miracle grow, it is just
wrong. But I have never tried fertilizing the seedlings.
Solution- Use an organic fertilizer when the secondary leaves start coming out.

grow lights, starting seeds indoors, spring garden, organic garden
I think that with these two corrections the little seedling stand a much better chance. I am going to give the spring seeds these corrections and see how it goes that way hopefully in a month when it is time to start the summer seeds I will know what to correct.

Here are the steps that I and my expert helper took today.

picking out the seeds, getting the pellets ready, starting seeds, organic seeds
Insert Pellets, make sure they are standing up.

organic garden, starting seeds, urban farm
Water the Pellets

urban orgainc farm
Watch them grow

flatten out the soil, make sure it is above the edge of the pots (this will cut down on fungus)


select seeds (make sure they will work for the time of year and location that you are planning on planting them in. take a look at this
the seeds of choice for starting indoors: brussel sprouts, broccoli, bok choi, spinach, artichokes, and lettuce assortment.
the seeds of choice for direct sowing out doors will be: carrots, peas (sugar and pod), and kale

plant the seeds

I like to put two in each pot, later I will remove the weaker one
Cover the seeds with dirt, then lay the germination plastic over the seeds until they sprout.

Put them under the grow lights and wait for the magic. they shouldn't need any light until the actual seeds sprout. ( I think I am going to give mine some light anyhow)

Here is a fun little video too.


naqahdahnellie said...

I'm jealous of your plantings!! My seeds haven't even come yet, so I keep trying to remind myself it's still a bit early. I'm getting antsy to start planting, though! We've been planning our garden/relandscaping for awhile now, but haven't started yet. It's the only thing I don't like about winter...the fact that I can't start growing things yet. Though, I do have an avocado pit on the kitchen counter sprouting enough that it now needs a pot to be put in.

Gremlina said...

we've never had success with avocado seeds! what's your secret? It is early to start seeds. We only have cold hardy things going...broccoli, spinach, brussels...