Seed Starting, 2016

Starting seeds takes some dedication. You have 8 to 12 weeks of monitoring room temperature, keeping soil moist, raising overhead grow lights, fertilizing, and talking to your plants, and that all takes place before you harden them off for another 2 weeks. On top of that, the prep time to get ready is a big job in itself.

Last year I built a seed shelf system with hanging lighting. I was using our guest bedroom, and since we are tight on space I disassembled it for the rest of the year to store in my shed. It's time to get the seeds going, so I busted that bad boy out this weekend! We have hardwoods so Linz helped put down tarps to keep (most of) the water off the wood. I got the shelves set up and room rearranged. That shit took half the day! 

This seed starting shelving system was easy to build. I bought a set of heavy duty shelves from the hardware store and 8 T8 size (2 lights per) fixtures, 4 feet long each. I screwed hooks in the bottom side of each shelf to hang the lights from. As the seeds grew I could raise the lights by adjusting the chain length.

It is really helpful to set yourself up with a seed starting calendar. I've seen a few online and robbed a bit from each to build a spreadsheet of my own, which is available for download at the bottom of this page. Kudos to You Grow Girl and Johnny's Selected Seeds for inspiration and basic layout...I fleshed it out a bit more, added some plants, categorized by sheet and set up formulas to auto-calculate dates. 

Seeds I'm looking forward to this year include Sweet Alyssum, Angel's Trumpet, Love-in-a-Mist, and Teddy Bear Sunflowers. I have a tendency to order more than I can sow...I might have to give out some spares!! I particularly like the selections (and quality in my experience) of seeds from Swallowtail Garden Seeds,Outside Pride, and Southern Exposure. The latter is located in my home State too. For a good variety of peppers (especially the mega hots) I have ordered from Pepper Joe. The seeds are high quality even if the website looks a bit out of date. The ghost pepper crop I had last year was absolutely insane.

This weekend I'll be making the magick happen. Let's hope for high germination rates! 

You can download the spreadsheet here.

Seedlings from last year did well with the shelving setup I built.