Joe and I made the drive from New York to South Florida, and in 24 hours, we experienced three seasons. We began our journey in winter and then arrived in spring by the time we reached South Carolina. Once in Florida, it was all-out summer.
This trip is why I didn’t start any seeds in February. There would be no one to take care of my seedling babies during the final week of March. Needless to say, I missed working in the potting shed and watching geraniums and impatiens and petunias make their debut onto the world stage.
It’s the main reason why I’m taking this walk down memory lane, a repost of last year’s seed starting experience and a chance to reminisce. By the way, seeds will be started when I return to Long Island: zinnias, sunflowers, cosmos — seeds that like to be sown where they’ll grow. Now that I read that sentence, I like to think of myself in the same way. I like to be planted where I can grow.
The thing about a vacation is that you have to come home. One day, I was enjoying the warmth of south Florida sun, and the next I was bundled up against the wind chill on Long Island — and there’s no better day to start seeds. Like many of you, my hands were itching to get dirty and to begin the new growing season. Since the potting shed was built, this has been my tradition — a step-by-step homecoming.
Step 1: I start with a pre-mixed bag of seed starting mix — mostly out of laziness and lack of space and time. I dump it into a pail and add warm water — to make my hands happy as I mix it all together.
Step 2: I don’t want to make it soggy — but moist enough that it will hold together. The moisture not only helps the seeds to get started, but it also eases the amount of dust from the seed starting mix.
Step 4: Geranium seeds are planted here. I place several seeds in one pot and then cover them lightly. Once the seeds sprout and have their first set of true leaves, they will be moved to individual pots.
Step 5: Now planted and labeled, each pot is placed in a tray of water so they can be watered from the bottom — again to prevent soil compression. Also, I keep water in the tray and keep the tray on the heating mat in an attempt to create some humidity. I’m not sure if it really works — but I like to think that it does.
Step 6: After soaking up some water, the potted seeds are placed on a heating mat so the soil can receive even warmth. At this stage, the seeds do not need sunlight — they’re underground. They do, however, need heat to help with germination. Once sprouted, then sunlight will play a role.
Since this is my first seed starting season with a blog, I thought I would create a page of regular updates. If you’d like check in on the seeds, please visit the new page tab above, “The Seed Monologues.” Here, I will keep brief notes on the seeds that are planted and what’s happening in the pots.
In the meantime, best of luck with all of your seed starting endeavors.