Seed Starting

It’s time to start planning for our annual GDOGC plant sale. This is our main fundraiser and allows us to hold such nice events as the fall field trip and the garden tour, and to donate money every year to worthwhile garden-related ventures. How can you help? Start seeds of plants to grow at the sale. The sale will be April 12th, so it is time to get cracking! Here’s a how-to link for starting your own seeds: http://www.motherearthnews.com/organic-gardening/seed-starting-basics.aspx?PageId=1. Sources for interesting seeds range from Burpee to Baker Creek to Seeds of Change. The key is to provide enough light so your seedlings don’t get leggy before you can put them outside in the sunshine. Grow lights are inexpensive and easy to rig up-mine are in my garage on a very simple pulley so I can raise and lower the lights as needed. Another easy thing I have found is to use a circulating fan set on low to circulate the air. This prevents damping off. A warming mat is a great investment as well-the seeds sprout much more quickly and it allows me to start my seeds in the unheated garage rather than the house, where my cats would have a field day. I have had the same mat from Gardener’s Supply Company for TWENTY years. It’s not pretty, but it works just fine. I use the mat to sprout a few flats of seeds, then rotate new flats onto the mat to sprout them. Eventually they are all uncovered and hardened off to the outdoors. I find my biggest challenge here in Texas is protecting them from the very fickle weather-one bad storm can wipe them all out. Finally, capillary matting also helps a great deal because it keeps the soil perfectly moist as long as you just keep even a little water in the reservoir. See http://www.gardeners.com/Seedstarting/Seedstarting_Dept,default,sc.html for more information. I also clean and reuse the capillary matting and it works for multiple years as well. At the sale we find vegetable transplants and herbs sell very well, in addition to annuals and perennials. Once we get a little closer to spring, consider dividing and transplanting plants and bulbs, and dig up any little “babies” that pop in your garden. I find there are always a few new Turk’s Cap, Rudbeckia, and other perennials to share from my garden. Please help us have the most successful sale ever!

Happy potting,

Allison Liddell

seedstarting1