This March, I avoided planting my garden seeds until this past weekend. Though I knew I was blowing the schedule for many seeds, I hadn’t done any additional homework about them until last week. I’ve not even completed the list, but the image above shows you the crops that I should have started earlier, based on our May 3rd frost-free date. See, last year, I thought frost-free was three weeks later; no wonder I had such a paltry garden.
Even starting late, it’s still worthwhile planting your own seeds. I found out last week that a lot of greenhouse seedlings are treated with neonicotinoid pesticides at the seed/seedling stage, and I don’t want anything that will harm native pollinators in my garden. So I used seed I’ve saved, and some I bought.
Here is a little pictorial of how I’m starting some rhubarb seeds, which I collected when I was in Ontario and saw a plant that had gone to seed.
Start with an egg carton, and lop off the points.
I had the good fortune of coming across a roll of baby bottle liners in a bin at a thrift store, and I knew I would be using them for planting. You’ll have to find some other small bags, such as from the bulk food store. Put the egg cup at the bottom of the bag.
Fill the eggcup with soil or starter mix and start stacking the tray. At the same time – they suggest two hours for soaking – put your rhubarb seeds in water.
I dropped two rhubarb seeds into each cup of soil, and then used the chopstick to push it down. Then I watered them. To keep the seeds warm and humid, I gathered their bag tops together with an elastic and a twist tie.
Then I put them on the windowsill to get some sun and warmth for the greater part of the day.
All seeds I started so far get the bag treatment.
In the meantime, bean sprouts are coming up in my planters by the patio door. I plant new seeds every weekend and have run out of seedling containers. I’ve two egg cartons left to fill and then I have to run to Home Depot to pick up a new seed-starting tray. I need the kind with the clear plastic lid, because two of my pets: Dweezil and Archie, and occasionally Waddy – take a stroll on the shelves where the seedlings are.
It appears I’ve misplaced my saved tomato seeds, and so I will buy seedlings, as most sensible gardeners do, rather than start them out as seeds. I’m also counting on volunteer plants to show up again, just like they did last year. In less than a week, I’m going to catch up on all those seeds I’m way overdue on. Then I’ll plant more according to schedule, including directly outside as soon as the snow melts (for those that can handle the threat of frost).
This year, that garden is going to burst with growth.
Also published on Medium.