Tuesday, April 15, 2014

Late to the Party!! My Tardy Seed Starting

Green heirloom cotton seeds! 
For the first time - probably since I was a teenager - I am late in starting my seeds.. My tardiness stems from a combination of factors that includes early spring travel and a lingering head cold, but I finally got started last week.. a dozen varieties of tomatoes, herbs, kales, annual flowers, salad greens galore and much more.. and I have to say, it felt great! Don't you just love the act of planting seeds.. checking them day by day to monitor their progress? It's such a wonderful way to celebrate the spring garden. And it's not too late to start seeds if you haven't yet done so. 

In The Year Round Vegetable Gardener, I wrote a 2 page piece called 'A Year in the Life of my Grow Lights', which details how I use my grow lights in spring, summer and even early autumn to get a jump on the garden. Using my grow lights - even after the initial spring garden planting - allows me to enjoy a constant supply of top quality, diverse varieties of vegetable seedlings for succession planting. 

Here is a peek under my grow lights this morning - I'm also so surprised how fast the seedlings grow! My zinnias and kale germinated after just 2 days! And in case you're curious, my basement temperature (where my grow lights are located) is just 15 C. Not very warm, but the lights do generate some heat. The cooler temp's help encourage stronger, sturdier seedlings.

Wondering how close your plants should be to the bulbs - close!
I keep my seedlings about 2 to 3 inches below the light. Any
further and they stretch to reach the light, weakening the

I LOVE this veggie - it's Peppermint Swiss Chard,
if you look very close you'll see that pink and white
streaked stems. So pretty!

Every seed germinated too - most offer 2 seedlings per 'seed'.
Like beets, Swiss Chard 'seeds' are dried fruits and often
produce seedlings in clumps. Just tease them apart
when transplanting.

In case you needed a reminder about how
dazzling Peppermint chard is - last
summer's chard! It also makes a stunning
container plant.

Here's a new kale for me - 'Black Magik', a variety of
dinosaur/Tuscan kale but with wider, longer leaves and
less tendancy to curl. I'm looking forward to testing it!


  1. I'm usually late... I was way early this year and now have tomatoes and peppers going nuts in my furnace room. Can't win! In the end I'm sure yours will do better than mine though, haha.

  2. really this is nice way of gardening and this types of gardening can bi possible at any place. vegetable garden toowoomba

  3. Like Sarah, I'm usually late when it comes to seed starting - sigh.. One of these days I'll get it right - hopefully.

    That peppermint Swiss chard is gorgeous - I'm adding it to my future seed list for sure!

  4. party lights We got a couple of these to add to our band's stage lights. We use them more like accent lights. They're small and really affordable. We like them.


Please feel free to leave comments. I welcome your tips, questions, thoughts and ideas (and suggestions for new veggies to grow!)