Thursday, 13 March 2014

Time to start those seeds!

I have grand plans for the garden this years - beyond just keeping it tidy and blooming, I want to have a vegetable garden. A decent vegetable garden, and perhaps I am being a little ambitious when saying this, but I want a garden that will feed me and the man (a perpetually hungry man, I may add) for the better part of the summer. I have done a small amount of veggie growing in the past, with minimal success (balcony gardening is challenging) but this year I want to go all out. The backyard is not huge but has ample space for several raised beds, and I am fortunate to get a very decent amount of sunlight and I feel it would be a waste not to take advantage of what I have.

In order to get a jump on the garden, I need to get those seeds started. I kicked things off with a greenhouse kit, one of those plastic trays with a domed lid that contained biodegradable pots I had to fill with a seed starting mix. What a failure! I followed both the recommendations on the kit and specifications for the seeds I was sowing and in less than a week most all of the little pots had started to mold. The only plants to survive were 3 zucchinis and some marigolds. Never one to give up, I headed back to the store to get more supplies to start over. Dollar stores definitely are NOT garden centers but more and more of them are stocking some useful (and reasonably priced) gardening supplies. Many of these gardening or seed starting items carried by dollar stores may not be as sturdy or be of the same quality as the pricey garden center stuff, but they can just as easily get the job done - and for someone like myself who is just starting out, I'd rather not shell out too much cash in the event I don't have luck growing.

I picked up a few items at my local Dollarama, just to see how they may work. I purchased more biodegradable pots for seed starting. The material is the same as what I used in attempt number one, but being that they are individual pots rather than the large inter-connected trays I first tried, I figured there may be a bit more air circulation through the trays...things may dry out faster, but perhaps there would be less likelihood of mold growing. I also found some cheap trays with dome lids (not pictured) and a mini greenhouse with the ever popular "peat pellets" (I just had to get little and cute!). I also found some handy plastic pots with large dome lids, perfect for housing seedlings once they hit the dome of the greenhouse kits. Lastly I found a pop-up greenhouse, ideal for placing over larger trays or pots to protect the plants from drafts...and cats.

Call me weird, but I find seed starting fun, exciting and downright addictive. I start far more seeds than I really need to and I cannot stop checking for progress...I'm's scary, sad and true. I have caught myself on a number of occasions just staring at pots of soil on my window ledges willing the seedlings to emerge. Because I have become so addicted to starting seeds, I have taken to saving any and ALL containers that have the potential to house a plant...I have yogurt cups, margarine containers and milk cartons scattered through the spare bedroom full of soil mix and seeds...and hope! If you find seed starting as entertaining as me, stay tuned for updates of my progress!

*Note: The seed packets pictured are NOT from the dollar store. All seeds were purchased at a garden center that was having a buy 2 get one free sale (bonus!!!). All seeds are heirloom varieties and I am fortunate to have a close friend who is also seed starting so we have shared a great number of seeds. There is no sense in skimping when buying seeds, so skip the dollar store and go for the gold!

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