Start Your Seeds

February 27, 2009 at 8:54 pm 2 comments

seed_startingThis morning I checked my handy Farmers Almanac to find out when this year’s last frost will be, and it turns out that it’s in five short weeks – which means I’m a week late at starting my seeds! There was no need to fret – it’s better to start your seeds a little too late rather than a little too early – but I didn’t want to hold out too long so I got right to work and planted about 20 out of the 40 veggie, herb and flower seeds that I bought this year. Starting your plants indoors is relatively simple, and it only took me about 2 hours to get all my seeds in dirt. Here’s an overview of what seed starting takes:


This is easy. Potting soil is readily available at hardware stores. Organic soil is always preferable. Soil is usually nice and moist right out of the bag, but if it’s dry you probably want to moisten it up a bit with some water – don’t make it muddy, just moist.

Plastic Containers, Markers, Tape, etc:

I’ve been saving up all my clear plastic food containers for a couple of months to use as planters for starting my seeds. You can also buy pots or flats to start your seeds in, but I recommend going for the free and recycled option. When planting seeds it’s important to label them, otherwise you’ll forget what you planted where. A sharpie and some masking tape are my preferred labeling tools. You may want to also have some seran wrap and rubber bands around to top your containers with, and scissors and/or a razor blade for cutting tape and plastic.


I got my seeds from Seeds of Change and Seed Savers Exchange, and I plan to get some more from this place I just heard about called the Hudson Valley Seed Library. Since this is the first year for my new garden, I don’t have any perennials yet, so I’m planting A TON of stuff. I got 41 kinds of seed, and it cost me about $125, but my mom split them with me so I saved a bunch of money without having to settle for fewer plant varieties. I copied the seed packets and wrapped half of the seeds in the paper, so I can hold on to a copy of the planting instructions and my mom gets the originals.

Only about half of my seeds needed to be started indoors (this info is available on the back of the seed packet), and the rest will go right into the ground as soon as it gets warm out – probably in the end of March/beginning of April. The ones I started today will germinate and grow to a couple inches in height over the nex six weeks and then I’ll move them outside once the last frost has come and gone. They should be happy in the windowsill where I set them – there’s plenty of light, and they’ve got plastic covers to keep moisture in so I shouldn’t have to water them much. I’ll be sure to post an update in a couple weeks to show their progress.


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2 Comments Add your own

  • 1. Xris (Flatbush Gardener)  |  March 19, 2009 at 1:05 am

    So, what do you come up with for your last frost date?

    And where do you find it on the Almanac site?

    • 2. gwen  |  March 19, 2009 at 12:34 pm

      I used the old-school farmers almanac (print version) to get the date – you can find the book at Rite Aid, oddly, in my neighborhood so I bet other drug stores in Brooklyn have it as well. But their website is sure to have all the info, too, and regardless, the last frost for NYC is going to be April 3rd. They actually don’t list our fair city in the Almanac – they don’t realize there are so many of us farmers here – but they do list Jersey City, which I assume is probably the same general climate as Brooklyn.

      Happy planting!!


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