Though I do not believe that a plant will spring up where no seed has
been, I have great faith in a seed. Convince me that you have a seed
there, and I am prepared to expect wonders.
- Henry David Thoreau
The schizophrenic weather these last couple of weeks-60 degrees at one moment, 4 inches of snow the next; blustery wind then spring like breezes-makes it hard to get a sense of the season. My actions have been just as extreme-from winter walks in the snowy woods to seed planting in the solar heated greenhouse. My mind however, is singularly focused- I have spring on the brain. I am all about seeds right now, apparent even in the subject of my snowy landscape photos (goldenrod and milkweed pods).
With March just around the corner, this is the time to start many of our favorite summer vegetables like tomatoes, peppers, and eggplant. They need plenty of indoor growing time to get a proper jump on the season. I know many of you are avid home gardeners (even if you are CSA members) and I thought it would be helpful to share some resources that have been most useful to me.
First and foremost is the Johnny Seed website (and catalog). I reference the Johnny Seed Catalog more than any other resource. It is filled with great growing information for each of the types of vegetables, herbs, and flowers they sell. Below is a list of specific useful links all described in their January blog posting.
-Seed-Staring Date Calculator (I use May 15th, 2011 as a last frost date, you might be able to get away with earlier in May if you live a protected or urban area)
-Seed Amount Calculator--helps you fiqure out the amount of seed you need for your specific garden or harvest needs.
-Target Harvest Date Calculator—this is a great tool that Johnny’s has developed with another favorite resource of mine Growing For Market—it is basically an excel file that you can plug into to figure out planting dates based on when you want to do your harvesting (this is a new tool).
The Johnny’s Website is also filled with crop specific growing guides, videos, and more. Here is a great video from the Martha Stewart show featuring a Johnny’s expert about seed starting basics.
Although it was written a number of years ago Mother Earth News has a great posting about seed starting.
We also are lucky enough to have two great local resources in regard to seed starting—two local companies run by good friends.
Happy Cat Organics-a great source of heirloom seeds with a newly updated website.
Organic Mechanics- an organic potting soil available at both Kimberton Whole Foods and Harvest Market Natural Foods.
Local writer Margaret Gilmour has two recent postings on seed starting and heirlooms on her wonderful blog Fresh Basil.
Finally, I want to leave you with some added inspiration. Local filmmaker Rich Power Hoffman of Spring Garden Pictures uses time lapse photography to capture the amazing process of seed germination and plant growth. His film Fridays at the Farm is one of the most powerful and compelling pieces about the importance of supporting a CSA. If you have a spare 20 minutes, I strongly recommend checking it out. It makes me cry every time I watch it. Enjoy and happy planting.