Tuesday, April 13, 2010

How Does Your Garden Grow?

Second nursery rhyme title in a row.  I must read children's books all the time or something. :)

The older kids and I started some seeds for our garden a couple weeks ago.  We're in USDA hardiness zone 3, so our growing season is pretty short, which limits what we can successfully grow if we don't plan ahead.   We've purchased seedlings in the past, but this way we get to have a little science lesson.  And, we're not limited to whatever varieties happen to be at the store when we make it to town.

We used a homemade setup, but you can purchase kits complete with everything you need to start seeds.  As you probably know by now, I have a few laying hens, so family and friends save egg cartons for me.  I have a mountain of egg cartons.  We ripped the tops off a few of them and put them on a cookie sheet.  Pretty hi tech stuff.

I poured seed starting mix into the cartons and let my helpers smooth it out. 

They each had a row of big and a row of small seeds to plant.  One did butternut squash, the other sugar pie pumpkins.  For small seeds we used yellow pear tomatoes and plum tomatoes.  I'd like to start a slicing tomato or two, but that's what we had on hand.

I showed them how deep to make the hole and they did a great job of continuing their rows.  They covered the seeds, then we misted the soil with a spray bottle.  The package of seed starting mix suggested that and it worked really well the first few times we watered them.  None of that annoying beading up on the surface and running off without even wetting the soil.


This picture was taken about 10 days after planting.  We didn't plant the middle rows, yet.  I ran out of patience so I'll do that a different day rather than crab at my kids.  I'm thinking some herbs for the garden and my kitchen, that slicing tomato, and maybe a couple more flowers.

I had some help watering them, unbeknownst to me, and some of the smaller seeds got washed away in the flood, so we'll replant them, too.

I used a sharpie on popsicle sticks to label the rows.  Cheap and easy! 

As the plants outgrow their little cups we'll transplant them into larger vessels.  I have quite a few plastic pots left over from previous years, and a few plastic butter dishes, coffee cans, etc, that would work well, also.

We planted extras in case they didn't all germinate, so a couple nice tomato or squash seedlings might find new homes with friends or family.   The rest will be distributed around our yard and garden in hopes that we'll be enjoying the fruits of our labors (pun intended!) later this year.

Do you start seeds indoors?


  1. Yes! Got rows of herbs, tomatoes, cucumbers, and squash... we'll see how they work. My dad build me some cold frames so I am hoping to jump start the season with those as well - maybe towards the end of May! Can't wait for gardening season!!!!!

  2. Great idea, and I hope you get some great plants! We need to figure out how to keep the deer out of our garden...

  3. We used to do that growing up in Indiana. My dad had lights set up in the basement and we started our gardens that way too! Now I'm so confused living in a 9-10 zone!! Huge difference!

  4. What a fun thing to do, Megan! It's the kind of thing I would never think to do if left to my own devices.

  5. Christa, cold frames are on one of my many lists! I can't wait, either!

    We haven't had much problem with deer, thanks to our dog, I guess. Calves and chickens, yes, though!

    Tys, I wouldn't know which way was up if I tried to garden there! Good luck!

    Oh, sure you would, Bridgidget!

  6. I have been wanting to do this with my boys too...but we have been so busy lately! I may just have to go buy tomato plants already growing:)



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