Urban Homesteading – Seed Starting

Reader Contribution by Heidi Hunt

It’s melting!! After the historical snow and cold the Midwest has experienced, sunshine, temperatures above 32 and puddles of melted snow are a welcome sight. Does this signal that spring is right around the corner? Well – not quite.

But as would be expected, this change in weather towards more hospitable conditions has triggered a plethora of conversation about seed ordering and starting, which catalogs are the best and just how much we each plan to grow this year. A group of us at the office have joined forces to order six different varieties of potatoes from Wood Prairie Farm in Bridgewater, Maine. The company offers 18 potato varieties. We’ll share the seed potatoes so we all can grow each kind. I have just 24 feet of space in my potato patch, but that shouldn’t limit the varieties I plant. It will be such fun in the late summer to dig up the potatoes and find a wide variety of colors and sizes.

Our editor-in-chief, Cheryl Long, designed and built a bookcase/grow light for seed starting. The office gardening group has plans to start some tomato and pepper seeds to get our gardening off to an early start. A seed packet always contains more seeds than I can use – especially with my four small 4-by-8 raised beds. I planted six tomato plants last year that grew like weeds. But they were so close together the tomatoes struggled to have their faces in the sun. By sharing the seeds and starting them here, we each can take home the number of plants we have room for.

To continue this share-the-load group effort all growing season, we’re considering gathering for lunch once a week to discuss our gardening successes and failures. As the weeks progress, I’ll share some of the most interesting developments with you.

How is your garden planning coming along? What are you doing to prepare? Let us know by posting a comment below.