The first day of Spring was officially yesterday, although outside our windows snow still gently fell, adding to the preexisting mounds.
The boys shoulders slumped when they observed our weather; they’ve been eagerly anticipating the first bike ride of the season, but it looks like we’re getting an extended winter. Usually we’re tapping the maples by now, but that, too, has been postponed until warmer days arrive.
As a way to encourage ourselves that spring will indeed come eventually, we started a few indoor seedlings. I let the boys lead on this project, which they were happy to do. Play with dirt? Yes, indeed.
Starting seeds indoors
For some plants that take a while to mature, like tomatoes and herbs, it’s a good idea to start them indoors, especially in colder climates. Our seed-starting production is very small scale, as I directly sow much of our garden, like lettuce, root crops, beans and peas.
It’s an easy afternoon project. Here’s what you’ll need if your interested in getting a jump on seedlings:
- cardboard egg cartons
- sharp knife
- potting soil
- a spray bottle or small watering can
Step 1: Cut the lid from the base of the egg carton with scissors. Turn the egg carton over poke a small drainage hole in the bottom of each section of the egg carton with a pocket knife. Set the egg carton into the lid, which acts as a tray of sorts.
Step 2: Fill the egg carton with the soil and dampen it slightly. Plant the seeds (according to the package directions) into each section of the egg carton. Lightly water the seeds.
We’re already planning what to grow in our backyard vegetable garden, so I had a good idea which seeds to start indoors. The boys helped me pick, as I like to involve them in every step of the process. It keeps them interested in gardening.
Mateo picked out watermelon seeds (that will be an experiment, for sure) and Noah chose broccoli. I gathered cherry tomatoes, basil, nasturtiums, marigolds and more tomatoes. I’ve learned so much about gardening from season to season, and I’ve found that edging my raised beds with strong-smelling flowers like the marigolds and the nasturtiums is a big deterrent to small predators.
Step 3: Write on popsicle sticks what you have planted and label each egg carton of seeds. Seal the seeds packages and store for another year or trade with a neighbour for different varieties.
Garden Tip: When ripping into your seed packet, cut it open at the bottom of the packet. Planting information is printed at the top of the seed packet and you will want to keep that info for future reference.
Step 4: Place the trays of seeds in a cool, dark place to germinate. Be sure to mist them with water daily and keep the soil damp, but not soggy. As soon as there are signs of life, move trays to a sunny spot.
Enjoy the first sign of spring. It never fails to lift the spirits.
Are you starting seeds indoors this spring? What are you growing?