After I attended the online garden planning course hosted by Peterson Garden Project, I realized that it was about time to start seedlings for the spring harvest. I honestly don’t know if I’m starting too early or not; however, I’m operating on the mantra of, “Do it, then figure it out along the way.” At worst, they fail. At best, the timing for transplanting will be perfect. Either way, I’m going to learn something and get experience, which is what this whole process is about.
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Here is how I went about getting everything done:
First I put my jiffy pellets in a pyrex dish. Then I warmed up the water used to expand the jiffy pellets (I held off on boiling the water on the chance that it would kill off any beneficial nutrients in the peat mix.)
Once I poured the water over the pellets and into the dish, I waited for the pellets to fully expand, then transferred them to the grow trays.
On the advice of an experience nursery gardener, I opted to use 10-pellet trays since they would provide a greater deal of flexibility with germination:
- I don’t have to plant 24, 36, or 48 of one thing at a time
- Being that each tray has the same plant, they will germinate at the same time and the same rate, which makes timing with germination and transplanting easier (ie, I won’t have a half-empty tray filled with slower-germination plants.)
- They take up less space and have more flexibility for configuring on warming mats and underneath grow lights
Once I had the pellets loaded into the trays, I used a pencil to push down the center of the pellet to the prescribed planting depth (between 1/4″ and 1/2″ for beets, carrots, cilantro and radishes I planted.) I then put two seeds in each pellet (to increase the odds of germination occurring in each pellet, with the exception of the carrots, which themselves came in a pellet form. Even with an 85% germination rate, I figured I’d take a chance on one-per.)
After placing the seeds in each pellet, I gently used my fingers to pinch and push down the peat at the top of the pellet. Then I placed the the trays in the window, utilizing my grandmother’s old sewing machine table (sorry and thank you!)
Now that the seeds have been planted, the next step is to log the information on to a spreadsheet to track the progress, and germination success and growth rate of each plant.
I also started the next batch of ginger for sprouting. I had a plastic tray with slots big enough to fit each ginger cutting. I’ve found that they sprout faster when using a heating mat.
These will probably sprout shoots in 10-14 days. Once leaves come out, I’ll transplant them to the larger planter where they will grow for the next 8 months to maturity.
For the next step, I’ll plant the seedlings for the modular planters on the deck. For that, I’ll have to buy some more 10-pellet trays. I’m not sure if I’ll place those under the grow lights since the outdoor temperatures are getting warm enough to place outside. If I had an outdoor greenhouse, I would place them in there. (That said, it might be worth investing in a small store-bought one.