I managed to get the bulk of my seeds ordered by my self-imposed January 31st deadline…and I did it with 15 minutes to spare! I’m not generally a procrastinator, but this year time is just slipping away from me.
Our old metal shelving was reassigned when we moved last year, so I made an order from Amazon for a new setup. Our previous shelves were 36″ wide, which meant I had to use both of them side by side (6 feet wide) for a 4-foot-wide grow light setup. I was never crazy about it, but I wanted to make the most of a good deal on wire shelves. The shelves I purchased today are 72″ high and 48″ wide, so they perfectly fit my needs. I paid just under $100 for the unit ordering from Amazon.
The grow lights I use are standard shop lights. I picked them up at Lowe’s in Lynchburg a few years ago, and they keep moving with us. By hanging them on chains, I can adjust the lights up a half-inch at a time as the plants grow. This keeps the lights near the plants. I don’t use special bulbs, just standard T12, I think they’re called. Each holds two bulbs. If I ever upgrade to the four-bulb units, I may add some grow bulbs.
I still have about a dozen seed starting trays, but because they’ve moved a few times, I don’t want to risk contaminating our soil with anything, so I ordered two new sets, again from Amazon. (Have I said how much I love Amazon?) The setup that I found today includes a base, 72 cells, a dome, and a heat mat. I’ve always used heat cables, but I think the mat will be a little less messy. Bottom heat really helps seeds get a jumpstart in germination.
My favorite seed-starting mix is Natural Beginnings (TM) Seed Starting Mix from Gardens Alive. I have always had great results using it, so I see no need to change now!
I still need to get a clip fan or two to help move air around the plants once the come covers are removed. We’re converting one of the unused bathrooms into the seed-starting room (because the basement is just too cold), so we’ll especially need to have some air movement.
Finally, I ordered my veggie, herb, and flower seeds, or most of them, from Southern Exposure Seed Exchange. In fact, to make things simpler, I even ordered most of the items I had planned to order elsewhere. As a somewhat local business, ordering from them helps keep money within the Commonwealth of Virginia. This year I’m trying:
- Stowell’s Evergreen CORN, SWEET
- Poppy, Breadseed, Hungarian Blue
- Anise-Hyssop HERB
- Amish Paste TOMATO
- Small Sugar PUMPKIN
- Cayenne, Long Red PEPPER, HOT
- Hungarian Wax (Hot Banana) PEPPER, HOT
- Jalapeño PEPPER, HOT
- California Wonder PEPPER, BELL (SWEET)
- Green Arrow PEA, SHELLING (ENGLISH) (DWARF)
- Martian Giant Slicer TOMATO
- Mortgage Lifter VFN TOMATO
- Chamomile, German HERB
- Australian Brown ONION, DRY BULB
- Quetzali PVP WATERMELON
- Edisto 47 MUSKMELON
- Basil, Sweet Genovese HERB
- Mammoth Russian SUNFLOWER
- Black Mammoth SUNFLOWER
- Borage HERB
- Danvers Half Long CARROT
- King Sieg LEEK
- Golden Self-Blanching CELERY
- Dill, Bouquet HERB
- Pablo Batavian LETTUCE, LOOSELEAF
- Cosmo LETTUCE, ROMAINE
- Asmara SOYBEAN, EDAMAME
- Homemade Pickles CUCUMBER, PICKLING
- Arkansas Little Leaf H-19 CUCUMBER, PICKLING
- Black Turtle BEAN, SOUP (BUSH)
- Kentucky Wonder (Old Homestead) BEAN, SNAP (POLE)
- Blue Lake 274 BEAN, SNAP (BUSH)
I’m trying a few different types of tomatoes this year. I may also buy some tomato seedlings from a local organic gardener who sells her excess. I also have a lot of seeds from my stash to test germinate, especially the veggies. I think I’ll just try tossing the old flower seeds into a prepared bed and see what grows!
I’ll keep you updated on our progress this year. The bed is still a bit of a mess, so we’re looking for someone to come out and turn it under for us early this season. Contact me if you know someone in the Woodstock/Mt. Jackson area who can turn under 50’x70′ for a reasonable cost!
Are you planting anything new this year?*** This personal blog is comprised solely of the opinions, views, projects, and travels of its author, Stacey Morgan Smith. She is lucky enough to have loving family and friends whom she drags along with her on her adventures and whom she puts to work on her little farm. She uses this blog to help promote living in the mountains of the Shenandoah Valley of Virginia, from Roanoke to the Potomac River.**