Tag Archives: starting seeds

New Year, New Garden

It’s a new year, new garden and a new attempt to keep the updates regular. Let’s make this happen.

So, you know the feeling. That feeling that creeps up on you in the middle of dead winter – its time to start my seedlings! So despite the 3 foot-deep snow outside and the negative degrees (Fahrenheit!) – thanks Pennsylvania winter! – you dig out your gardening tools, connect the grow lights and try to breath light into the cold, gloomy garage or whichever room is going to serve as a greenhouse for the next few months.

And then – and then you get excited. Excited because you know that spring is coming and this time its going to be better than ever. Because this time you have the added experience of the last year, the information from all those articles you read and a brand, grand new plan.

So, middle of January, onion seeds can go in, a few weeks later (beginning of February) its your cabbage family: broccoli, cabbage, brussels sprouts; tomatoes, peppers, maybe a few basils or other herbs you may wish to start early. And now you are all set – to watch the snow melt outside (it will, I promise) as your seedlings grow inside.

I make my own grow mix from equal parts of peat moss, perlite and vermiculite. Moisten the mixture in a bucket for at least a day and put in small containers into the makeshift green house we made inside.


For the green house we used an industrial shelving unit form Lowe’s ($70-80), to which we retrofitted T5 grow lights (best price I found is here: http://www.thelashop.com/fluorescent-grow-light/) and covered the sides with mylar space blankets to reflect the light in all direction and keep it warm and moist. So far we love this setup – plus the shelving may be used for many other things once there are no seedlings!

The only problem I have been having with my seedlings (second year now) are thrips. They may be in the peat that I am using or literally coming from thin air, but just can’t quite figure out how to get rid of them for good.
I am currently trying neem oil spray on the seedling leaves and top of the soil (1 tsp per 2 cups water) we will see how it works. If anyone has any suggestions – let me know about your experiences!

We also are growing lettuce and spinach in our cedar container along with the seedlings and already harvested a decent amount for dinner! Such a treat in the middle of dead winter.

What and when are you starting for your grow season? Let me know!


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6-8 weeks before last frost

This weekend marks the long awaited deadline for starting the new garden – 6 weeks before the last frost, which in this PA area is set to be on April 21.

This means most of the plants will be started this weekend in their transplant containers, and, with good weather, a few cold weather crops will go into the garden as well, such as peas, onions and kale.  I had the opportunity to start most of our plants early, at 8 weeks (2 weeks ago) but need to finish our list and also duplicate a couple plants (to stagger them though the season).

Plants that went in two weeks ago:


Seeds of Change Organic Cherry tomatoes
Burpee Organic Beefsteak Tomato
High Moon Organic Cosmonaut  Volkov Slicing Tomato
Botanical Interestes Organic Heirloom Italian Roma Tomato
Seeds fo Change Organic Early Green Broccoli
Rohrer Seeds Calabrese Heirloom Broccoli
Rohrer Seeds Heirloom Chives
High Moon Organic Corno di Toro Sweet Pepper
Lake Valley Anaheim Pepper Mil Chili


Burpee Thyme
Seeds of Change Organic Dill
Horizon Herbs Organic Witch Hazel
Horizon Herbs Organic Lavender
Horizon Herbs Organic Viola
Botanical Interests Heirloom Butterfly Bush (to attract Monarch and other butterflies)

A few things that were started earlier in the winter:

Rohrer Seeds Heirloom Italian Parsley
Rohrer Seeds Heirloom Yellow Sweet Spanish Onion

We had also so things growing under lights through the winter: green onions, sage, rosemary, thyme, oregano, spinach, valerian root, wormwood, strawberries, stinging nettles. Those will go outside when it warms up either in containers or directly into the garden.

I will record our plantings this weekend as all of the seeds go into their sprouting containers.

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