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Sunday, March 27, 2011


Ok so there is still a couple feet of snow on the ground, and as I write this it actually started snowing, but it’s melting and I definitely see grass in some places.  Dead, brown grass, but hey grass is grass, and after 5 months of seeing nothing but white, I’ll take it!  I have to admit that I’m jealous reading about those who are already planting their gardens, or even harvesting.  Since there won’t be anything green outdoors until  April or May,  March here is marked by icy mud puddles, warm highs just above freezing, yes more snow,  and indoor seed starting.  I can’t tell you how excited I am to put my hands in dirt again, and to see my green seedlings peeking through the soil, even if it is on a bakers rack illuminated by florescent shop lights.  

Living in zone 1-2, I start as much as possible indoors.  So far I have started tomatoes,  Nova for sauce and drying, Manitoba heirloom for slicing, sun gold and sweetie for snacking.  These are all new varieties for me.  None of my tomatoes, produced last year except for a few snacking tomatoes.  I have ancho and jalapeno peppers, these are left over from last year, they germinated well, these also did almost nothing last year and were attacked by aphids.  I started the tomatoes the end of February this year, which is about a month earlier than I did last year.  I chose all determinate varieties because they ripen earlier and all at once, which I hope will be better for my short season.   They will go in the green house; I’m going to attempt to get them out there in May.  We’ll see how that goes.  June is our date of last frost, but  I’m going to fill milk jugs with water and put those around the plants to reflect back heat at night and hopefully keep them warm enough.  I also have started thyme, basil, dill, cilantro, parsley, sage, oregano, lavender, echinacea, peppermint, calendula, chamomile, cosmos, and columbine.   I use a lot of Denali seeds, my tomatoes and peppers I got from territorial seed and some of my herbs are from seeds of change.   I primarily garden for food, this year I’m trying out some flowering herbs for tea and soap/lotion making.  Today I repotted many of the larger plants into 4” pots.  Usually I put only one plant to a pot, but the herbs I put 3 to each 4” pot and will eventually put into 10” pots that will be in the green house.  
I start my seeds in 1x1 packs of 9, and then transplant them into bigger containers as they need.  I usually just start 1 seed in each pot, and a couple with 2 seeds to avoid waste, and so I have seeds left for next year.  if one doesn’t germinate, I use one of the ones that had double in it, and sometimes I have to replant.  Some of the harder to germinate seeds like lavender and thyme, and rosemary, I will sow heavily.   I save my seeds for 1-2 years.  Once I have what I need from the package, I place it in a plastic sandwich bag, and then put all the packets into one gallon size freezer bag, and store them in my garage.  It stays about 45-55 in there, I’ve heard you can keep them in your fridge, but haven’t tried.  I use fluorescent shop lights on chains, I put it as close to the plant as I can, and raise it as the plant grows.  


  1. Your starts look great! Mine, not so much. I think your grow lights are hung closer - I'll adjust this weekend.

  2. Thanks, I put the light right almost touching the plants and then move the up as I need to, I keep them on chains so I just go up a link or two at a time.