Starting Seeds (from scratch)

  • olonade 

It’s about that time year! Seed starting time of year!

If you’ve never gardened before, starting seeds can be quite scary! Let’s just take a small breath and see what we can do. All you have to do is provide the right environment. If you can do that, Nature will handle the rest.

Where do I get seeds?
Excellent question! Since this time is the right time for starting everything, you can get seeds from just about any grocery store or home improvement store in your area. You may be able to get some seeds or starter plants from the things you already eat! We have select seeds available here, Butternut Squash, Lemon Mint, Black Opal Basil, Golden Giant Amaranth, and Red Dye Amaranth. Our good friends Lauren and David of Rosser Holistic Care offer Kale Seeds. If you sell seeds, please reach out to us!

If you’ve never grown anything or been witness to it before, start growing some herbs, this is not just because I have an interest in you growing them, but you are also familiar with these kitchen herbs and they are the youngest relatives to their wild weed cousins. They take little effort to grow and won’t fuss too much.

But I don’t have dirt!

Correct! Seeds don’t get planted in “dirt” seeds start in soil. We raise that distinction because soil is alive and a healthy living soil let’s your plants thrive!

So…where do I find this “soil”

Good question! Soil can be found all around you. Get a shovel or your hands dirty! If it is black and soft and if you squeeze it in your palm and it can make a nice ball, not too tight, not too loose, then it will be good enough for you! We can of course get really really technical about this, so feel free to contact me if you want to get that soil all up in your fingernails likethatlikethat

Okay, I found the soil that I think fits, what do I put it in?

Well, what do you have around you? Do you have a pair of scissors, boxcutter or a knife? We’ll need that and, depending on the sharp tool of your choice (be careful!) you can choose a wide variety of vessels you might have lying around the house. I’ve used water bottles, plastic “SOLO” cups, paper cups, milk jugs, water jugs, and I’ve seen people use styrofoam and recycled paper egg crates. I’ve also seen people use eggshells! Lets just focus on what you have in your immediate environment and would cost you the least to get. The same principles apply, make it drain, the soil retains the moisture. I’ll show you what I know.

With a solo cup. Take a look at the bottom rim of the cup. You see how it is a little bit raised, in a circle, stick the scissors in that raised area, try to make about 3-5 insertions. After inserting the scissors/blade, wiggle it back and forth a couple times to get a nice triangle shaped hole. Be careful again, this plastic will be sharp. Don’t get it too big or you might wash out your soil, and don’t get it too small either or else it won’t drain. I know, I know, it’s undefined but you’ll get the hang of it.

Here you can see “peppuhscominup!” in a solo cup. Check the ridges for the verification. That big block behind the pepper seedlings is a peat-block for starting seeds. Peppers don’t care about “Efficiency.” They have their own definitions. These two small leafs are the cotyledons, and from them the true leaves will come.

With a Water Bottle.

Look at the water bottle and now imagine it in thirds. A standard 16.9 oz water bottle will generally have some “handle” part for the top of your hand to rest easy in when you hold it. Thats where you insert one of the blades of the scissor or knife and cut all the way around. This plastic will be sharp again. After I do this I usually rub the cut surface on the sidewalk if I am outside or reach out the window after I’ve pulled the screen up and rub it on the bricks or the windowsill to “sand” it down. It’ll decrease the chances for you to get a serious paper cut. From there follow the directions for putting the holes in the bottom like in the solo cup section.

Our first ever planting of peppers. This first planting is a little below the cut that we described but it worked nonetheless!

With a milk/water Gallon Jug

Milk Jug: The objective with this structure is to preserve the handle while making it open enough to get soil inside. This is gonna get really messy once you start adding soil, but who ever said Urban Farming is about keeping everything clean?
When you’ve managed to strike that balance, follow the directions for putting the holes in the bottom like in the solo cup section.

Water jug: Some water jugs have those foam handles, those are great and will really come in handy, up until the end of the growing season. Starting some seeds in either of the jugs means that you will be keeping the plant in these jugs, which works really well for kitchen herbs.

In front of the brick bannister we have some of the above-mentioned foam-handle gallon jugs. I transplanted a bunch of things into these containers, but that is for another article :]

Okay, I’ve made my cuts, I’ve filled my containers with the soil, now what?

Put your thumb in the soil, to the depth of about halfway between your thumbnail and your thumb-knuckle. Drop your seeds in, and water. Don’t really pat the seeds down. I’ve done so in the past, but let’s think about it for a hot second, you don’t really want to do anything that’s going to prevent the seed from opening and reaching towards the sky. Leave the soil as you had it, fluffy-ish and once the water runs through everything will be all good!

How long do I wait?

As long as the plant needs. The seed contains everything the seedling needs to start. It’ll start a tap root and grow from there. Make sure you water it, not too much, not too little, and everything will be all good!

Sounds good, I know I’m ready now!

Fantastic! Leave a comment with any questions you may have, or any articles you’d like to see next! Thanks for reading and thanks (ߡߍߘߊߛߋ) for your time!

Watermelon seed taking it’s first breath! Hello!!
The first Butternut Squash True Leaf 8 days after the picture above