Wednesday, January 21, 2009

Seed Starting Status and My First 2009 Load of Dirt

Early seed starting is moving right along. I'm set to plant some things as early as the beginning of March (those things calling for planting before last frost) and I've started seeds for those things going in at the end of March. And as of today, even my tomato seeds have been started.

Here is a picture of my final seed starting setup with both Jump Start lights in place. I did find this system in other places and was amazed that the cost was 50-90% more than the place I got it. Gotta love a good deal.

This window is almost south facing, slightly south-southeast really, and I worried that it wouldn't get enough light on the seeds which is why I bought the lights. I may have actually been able to get away with less. As you can see, the seedlings are all leaning forward, towards the window.

While I am using the trays with peat cells for some, what you see below is actually my favorite way to start seeds. The containers are Beneful Ready Meal containers. I re-use them for the home made dog food but had so many last year I gave this a try and found it wonderfully effective.

I simply put 5 dents in the starter mix in the container and start five seeds for bigger items like peppers or tomatoes. For things like leeks and onions, I just sprinkle them on thinly and cover with a bit more soil mix. What makes it great is that I don't waste whole cells for seeds that don't sprout and getting them apart is a breeze. I just wait till I would normally water and pop the whole, slightly dry, hunk of soil and plants out onto the transplant area. Then I douse with water and it separates all by itself. Teasing apart over developed roots can be a bit of trouble, but timing is everything.

Don't the newly sprouted onions look lovely and delicate? I love the smell of them as I'm now thinning out the weak.

And now for my most recent bout of self-punishment via dirt movement. Here is my delivery of 6 cubic yards of topsoil. In the picture below, I've actually already taken off a bit of the back section so it isn't quite as tall as it was.

And here is what it looked like the next day. I did get it all moved on Saturday and Sunday afternoon, despite the hours of misting that made it get ever heavier.
I used this topsoil to create a level area for my 2 new raised beds to go on. So none of this is even garden dirt but rather a base. I'm letting it settle for a couple of weeks before setting up the new beds and then filling them with a further delivery of compost mix.

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