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Wednesday, January 20, 2016

It's only the beginning

On a gloomy and cold January day, I started our spring garden. Indoors, of course. I took over the kitchen for this work. It's a messy job. But if you have to make a mess indoors, the kitchen is a good room to do it in. I prefer to undertake the task of starting seeds in a quiet house. I don't want to feel that I am in someone's way, or rushed to get the job done. I want to take my time, imagine the salads I will harvest and savor this quiet, thoughtful moment.

I had only part of a bag of seed starting soil, and about the same amount of regular potting soil. Not wanting to make a run out to the store to buy more seed starting mix, I combined the two and will hope for the best.

I filled the small holes with this soil mix, and planted lettuce seeds. It's green, leafy salads that I'm most dreaming of, right now. And lettuce seeds can take a while to sprout. I'll have time later this month to add some kale and cabbage seeds to the flat. Those seeds are quick to poke through the soil, and then grow like weeds in the sunshine. Starting the two kinds of seeds, together would result in overgrown kale and cabbage, and lettuce that is rushed into the outdoors, long before it's ready to handle our chilly blustery late-winter days. So, I start only half the flat right now.

After gently tucking those tiny seeds into their beds of soil, I popped the whole flat under the light fixture. The lights will give off enough warmth to encourage those seeds to sprout. And now I wait.


  1. Oh, the dreams that starting seeds gives us this time of year. :)

    I used to start a lot of seeds, but had problems with the cats getting into them. After about 5 different arrangements to protect the seedlings that the cats defeated, I gave up.
    There are definitely trade offs with pets.

    1. Hi live and learn,
      I can only imagine, with the cats, what starting seeds indoors might look like! Just another fun "toy" for them to dig around in!

  2. I can't wait to see the lettuce growing in your yard. :)

  3. We have discovered our (surviving) plants like growing in pots a lot better than in the ground. I think you've discussed this before in a past blog post, how some plants do better in pots. In our case, I think it has more to do with water retention. We've got basil seedlings growing in unexpected places in our back yard. Since the plant is so prolific and insists on growing everywhere, I've resigned to consuming it as a vegetable until the rest of the garden catches up. So basil/pesto pizza, pesto rice, basil soup....I should research all the ways to eat that plant. Fortunately I love the smell and taste of basil.

    How exciting to watch the seedlings push through the soil under the light. Do you grow sprouts too?


    1. Hi YHF,
      In our garden, the basil prefers pots. I think the soil is warmer in a pot, here.

      I haven't sprouted seeds in a long while, but maybe I'll try some later this month. Do you sprout seeds? They make a nice addition to salads and sandwiches.

    2. We have in the past...mung and lentil sprouts. But we need a better system. So that is one area we will need to work on.


    3. YHF, what do you use for sprouting? I've only done alfalfa and broccoli seeds. Those are tiny seeds, and work well in a glass canning jar, with a cheesecloth screen.

    4. We have used a large plastic jar, and just laid it on its side, and tied the mouth of the jar with a fiberglass screen fabric (yes the window kind). We always had a constant supply of screen remnants from our jobs. I read that we should be using food grade screens instead. It was OK but will see if we can grow them in trays instead.


  4. I am growing basil on my kitchen window sill. Very small shoots coming up, it is so cold here that at night I place the pot on the counter so they don't freeze. Cheryl

    1. Hi Cheryl,
      Oh yum! Fresh basil. I've got a little frozen basil left from last summer, and some dried, too.

      Hopefully the nights will warm enough, soon, that you can leave the pot in the window overnight.


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