Seed Starting at the MOTHER EARTH NEWS Office!

| 3/11/2010 8:54:46 AM

Tags: seed starting, planting seeds, heirloom seeds, growing tomatoes, growing peppers,

Seed packetsHere at MOTHER EARTH NEWS, we try to not only bring you great gardening content — we are trying to be great gardeners! Last week our editorial team, complete with seasoned gardeners and eager beginners, took on an exciting seed-planting project right here in our office.

We got some seed-starting mix and trays at a local garden center, and several people on our team brought in different tomato and pepper varieties to get started — mostly heirlooms. We ended up with four pepper varieties and eight tomato varieties. I've heard lots of good things about 'Carmen' peppers and 'Sun Gold' tomatoes, both of which we planted. I'm very excited to try them out.

As luck would have it, we had just the right amount of tray slots to plant eight starts of each kind of seed. Using cardboard tags made from a cut-up granola box (I can hear the hippie references already), we labeled our trays, and then got them good and watered.

ISeeds in hand must admit I was beyond giddy during this whole process. It was only in the furthest reaches of my daydreams that I imagined working in an office where I’d be sticking seeds in the dirt during my lunch break. Up until now, I’ve only planted tomatoes purchased as starts from a garden center. And what an exciting adventure to start at the very beginning. I was in awe of the tininess of the seeds that I knew (or, hoped … I don’t want to be over-confident!) would turn into sturdy plants bursting with food.

Our seeds are currently sitting happily under a grow light about 15 feet away from my desk. We’re all checking on them every time we walk by, enthusiastically sharing a play-by-play of their progress ("Whoa! I think I see the first pepper sprout!"). The hustle and bustle of editorial work and the hum of computers may seem incongruous with the slow, steady and beautiful process of little sprouts starting their lives, but here at MOTHER, it fits.

Seed traysI can’t wait to share more about our project in the coming weeks! If any of you are growing seeds at your place of work, we’d love to hear about it. If not, and a similar project sounds doable, perhaps consider approaching your coworkers or boss about growing some seeds. It’s not too late!

3/15/2010 4:10:05 PM

This story is so familiar to what I've been experiencing at work. I happened to mention a certain variety of peppers to a co-worker and she decided to order them online. She sprouted them in the front office window that is south-facing and they're doing great. Other workers have caught on and now we are growing peppers, basil, oregano, and tomato seedlings in the windows. It has been so much fun to watch my co-workers' excitement over their "babies".

Janet Reiner_1
3/14/2010 3:20:23 PM

I am the Executive Director for a non-profit organization called "Barb O'Neill Family and Friends" in Olympia. We have a mission to feed the homelss and needy. So we decided to begin a trend. If people would plant a garden and plants just one extra row of produce specifically to feed the homeless or for a hungry family then combined we would be able to feed the world. We are starting this project with only 6 different types of seeds and we planted 6 seeds per type. We just planted them yesterday and we look forward to watching them grow. Will others do the same-plant one extra row or one extra plant and donate it to the homeless or needy? Please let me know. Janet Reiner Barb O'Neill Family and Friends

Ken Fried
3/14/2010 12:31:19 PM

Hi, I'm curious, I just completed filling out the "spring indoor seed-starting guide" in your magazine. It looks like I've missed the indoor sowing date for most of the things listed. Say a setting out date is March 5th for Leeks (For Wichita, KS), that means 6-8 weeks prior to March 5th, I should have began growing my seeds. What would be the harm in starting 4 weeks or even 1 or 2 weeks before the setting out date? I don't get why it has to be a certain number of weeks prior. Thanks, Ken

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