The Holidays are behind us and the New Year is upon us. For me, January has always been the month I clean, sort, organize and plan. I clean out drawers, closets and cupboards. I sort papers needed for taxes
and organize my office. We’ve got plans in place for a few short trips and our main vacation.
So, with all our plans, hopes and dreams for 2011; we now turn our thoughts towards spring. Sitting warmly inside by the fire while all lies dormant outside, my husband and I plot the garden. (He’s also currently
designing a structure for a new “chicken run/raised garden bed”) But, the best part of all our planning is plant and seed selection. When it’s cold outside, and it appears as though no life exists, it’s so much fun to look through a go-zillion seed catalogs
and make long lists of things we’ll plant when the weather permits.
For me seeds represent the cycle of life and new beginnings. Over the years of purchasing and starting seeds, (and owning a retail garden nursery
….long ago), we learned that to guarantee bumper crops, we needed to buy seeds from our area. Yes, it does matter where the seeds come from.
Seed companies in each region conduct trials to determine which varieties grow best in your area. I.E., what works best for your general soil type, your climate/weather conditions, and the pests and diseases
common to your neck of the woods. So, whenever possible, buy seeds grown and adapted to your specific region. Having said this, Heirloom seeds sometimes can only be purchased through seed companies that are not in your area or region. We almost always purchase
a few Heirloom varieties from other regions of the country.
After you’ve selected and purchased your seeds, how do you know what your seeds want? Here are the 3 keys to successful seed starts.
Germination: Getting seeds to pop, so to speak. They need moisture and warmth . Don't let your seeds dry out. And, maintain a temperature of 75 to 80 degrees. You’ll need some sort of heat source, like a “seed start heat mat” to set your trays
Growing the seeds out: A very light fertilizer charge is all they’ll need until you plant. And, light for 3-5 weeks. A simple florescent light will do. They produce NO heat and are low energy. There’s no need for a full spectrum light on these
Hardening Off: Set outside for a little while every day, bringing in at night until you transfer them to their spot in your well prepared garden.
So, our grandiose plans for our perfect garden are well underway. The catalogs are worn from page turning, the pages are dog-eared from page saving and the wish is growing. The Seeds Of Change? Yes….. Spring
will be here before you know it. I think I’ll look that list over again to see what “Seeds I Need.”