Seed Starting for a Fall or Winter Harvest

It's that time! Time to start seeds for the upcoming season. I just transplanted my late summer garden (see that video here.) and am ready to start seeds for my Fall and Winter gardens. I am going to share how I grow most of our produce from seed, what you will need to do so, some of my favorite seed varieties (and companies) plus a recipe. 

First, you will need a leftover produce container with a lid such as a strawberry or grape tomato container OR a seed starting kit. I use both! The kit is inexpensive and easy to find. I found mine at my local hardware store. You can also purchase one here

Second, you will need a seed starting mix. I started out with a basic peat and perlite mix from the hardware store. Now I make my own mix using the recipe below. For now, stick with something like this or this

 

 


DIY Seed Starting Mix

 

Do It Yourself Seed Starting Mix

1 part Coconut Coir

1 part Perlite

1 part Compost or Worm Castings*

Mix all ingredients thoroughly with your hands. I like to do this in a wheel barrow. Store in a trash can with a lid for later use. These are ingredients I have personally sourced and used with success. Feel free to experiment! *Note: add the compost or worm castings for a nutritious potting soil.


Third, you will need to select your seeds! I love choosing a variety of heirlooms in case you couldn't tell. These are varieties often not found at the grocery store that have been passed down for generations. Their genetics are strong and well preserved. There are numerous flavors you may have not been exposed to unless you grew these heirlooms yourself. How exciting?! I have been able to find a few of my favorite seed companies at one of my local hardware stores. The local ACE hardware store I shop carries this brand and does have a few heirlooms to choose from. Pictured below are some of the varieties I am planting in my Fall and Winter gardens. 

Seeds for our Fall Garden

My favorite seed companies include: 

Sow True Seed

Baker Creek Heirloom Seeds

Botanical Interests

High Mowing Organic Seeds

 

Once you have all of your supplies, follow the instructions on your seed packets and seed starting mix. Most of the time, you want your seeds to be planted at twice their diameter/depth. For carrot seeds, you just want to scatter on top of the soil. Be sure to water well and cover with the plastic lid provided with your seed starting kit. When watering I prefer to place water in the tray of the seed starting kit and let the little pots drink up the water. After about 30 minutes I dump any remaining water that is in the tray. Leave in a warm windowsill, atop the fridge or on a germination mat. Wait a few days to a week and observe to see if anything sprouts. Once the seeds break ground, I like to place them under a shop light or out in a shady spot in the yard. Over the course of a week I will slowly move them into the sun making sure they have water. While you can start root crops this way, I prefer to direct seed turnips, carrots, radishes and beets. Did I leave out anything? 

 

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