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?