Three weeks ago I started my first batch of seeds of all the things that don't mind the cold and who can use a little head start. I am excited to grow a few new varieties from Seed Savers Exchange this year, and a few things I found that Thomas Jefferson grew at Monticello (I read the new book out called A Rich Spot of Earth by Peter Hatch and was inspired!) Some highlights will be the Mammoth Red Rock cabbage and Yugoslavian Red Butterhead from Seed Savers. I have Tennis Ball lettuce that was grown at Monticello and some Win-Win Choi that is already gargantuan! I have a nice variety of colors and textures for the rows near the sitting area. Now if the weather would just cooperate!
Though the frost free date is May 4th at my house,
I usually get things in a bit earlier if I feel confident that it will stay warm. This year seems different though, as we got snow last night -even as I had been moving compost during the day. Unfortunately the seedlings are ready to go in now and have over-grown their cells. I think they will all have to stay put for a bit longer though as we are going away next week and I would want to watch them if they went in the ground.
If you want to start seeds yourself it is very easy. If you are new to this, I would suggest buying the seed starting kit and soil from Johnny's Selected Seeds. Not very expensive at $20.95, the Johnny's Light Pro-Am kit gives you 5 trays of the best sizes, and 5 leak proof trays and 1 dome. This will be enough for a small household garden, as some things you will want to start in reused 6 packs from annuals you bought last year, or 4"pots (also reused from previous purchases.) Then get a bag of their 512 mix, and you will be off to a great start! Though I have started things in a sunny window, using a work light or 2 from a home improvement center is so much better. Mine are suspended from the basement ceiling on chains about 3 inches about the plants. This assures short and stocky hardy plant growth, that won't flop over when it gets outside. Again, these lights and bulbs with the chain can be bought for around $60. For when to start seeds in your area, consult this calculator for all the dates for your area put together by Margaret Roach. Happy seeding!