Wednesday, March 28, 2012

Guest blogger & lessons from a seeding workshop!

OK so I am beyond excited for this post! This is my first ever guest blogger spot....woot!!
My wonderful friend, fellow blogger and newbie seed starter, A'mee from Paying Our Way has embarked on her journey of starting veg from seed and growing them container style on her apartment balcony. In an effort to see if she can save money by growing vs buying.
Thanks A'mee for allowing me to share your seed sowing journey and our recent visit to a seeding workshop!

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 How I'm Learning to Start a Garden From Seed

by A'mee - Paying Our Way


Tonight I had the opportunity to attend a Seed Saving Workshop (free!).   The people giving the workshop were fantastic.  I’m such a gardening novice, and I confess to having forgotten nearly everything I learned in Biology 101 (let alone Microbiology).  I tend to be of the “stick a seed in a pot and cross your fingers” variety of gardener.  This, of course, means that my garden generally doesn’t produce much.

After this workshop, I’m really excited to get some seeds started this weekend!  I got to take home some beans in potting soil, so hopefully they will get going.  I also want to get started on my radishes and lettuces.  Apparently, it’s getting to be prime time and they grow pretty good in cool spring.  I could be having my first homegrown salad in about a month’s time!   Looks like I need to pick up some potting soil and fertilizer this weekend too. 

This is how big a novice I am when it comes to gardening:  I was under the mistaken impression that fertilizer was fertilizer.  Bzzzzzt!  Wrong!  I wasn’t even aware of the nitrogen/phosphorous/potassium ratio.  I have a pretty good idea now why my tomatoes last year went insane with the greenery but only produced about three tomatoes.  Apparently my fertilizer was too heavy on the nitrogen side.  For tomatoes, I should have been using a low nitrogen, high potassium blend.  (Don’t laugh—I’m aware of my gardening ignorance!)  But I’m betting that what I used last year will be great for my lettuces.

One of the speakers at the workshop was a local gardener named Caitlin Moore, aka the Urban Food Warrior.  I highly recommend you check out her blog, since it’s just loaded with great information.  I plan on making it a regular resource.  She also works at a place called Cascadian Edible Landscapes, which is apparently not too far from me.  I fully intend to check it out, maybe this weekend.

I wanted to share with you some of the cool things I learned at the workshop.  If this isn’t news to you, I apologize.  Once again, gardening idiot in the house!  I fully intend to grow a decent garden this year!

  • If you want to save seeds, don’t buy hybrid.  You don’t know what you will get.  Open pollenated seeds are the best for seed saving.
  • You can store seeds for ages as long as you keep them in a cool, dry place, like a jar in the refrigerator.
  • Don’t fertilize seeds.  Fertilize seedlings about once a week.  Use liquid fertilizer if you are using sterile seed starting soil, pellets if you are using potting soil.
  • Plastic strawberry containers make great miniature greenhouses!
  • You can reuse your gardening containers as long as you sterilize them with a vinegar/water solution.
  • When thinning seedlings, you should cut, not pull, to avoid disturbing the surrounding roots.
  • Seedlings need 16 – 18 hours of light per day!
  • You should “pet” your seedlings to encourage them to develop strong stems that will help them survive once they are planted outdoors.
  • Soil temperature should be about 50 degrees before you plant seeds outdoors.  Containers (like I use) tend to keep soil slightly warmer (so what they heck am I waiting for??). 
I’m looking forward to getting the garden growing this year!  What other great seed starting tips do you have that aren’t commonly known? 

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For more posts by A'mee check out her blog. Paying Our Way - One family's journey out of debt....

Please let me know if you would be interested in being a guest blogger, I'd love to share your stories too!!

7 comments:

  1. Very good information! I love people sharing the things that they know!

    http://theredeemedgardener.blogspot.com/

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    1. Oh I so agree, I learn so much through this wonderful world of blogging =)

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  2. Wow these are great pointers for growing seeds...it will help with my precious seedlings ..thx...

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  3. great tips (& congrats on getting a guest blogger!) Those free classes are fun and informative. Good dirt is one of the best things for seed starting. You may want to check out elliot colemans organic harvest (or is it organic gardener) i can't remember, but its his only book with organic something or other. (wonderful brain I have) Enjoyed the post!

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  4. Thanks for the blog love!! <3

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  5. Great tips Amee and goodluck with your seed sowing and starting a garden :)

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  6. Hi Julia, You have a wonderful blog with great information and beautiful pictures. Have a great day! Diana

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Thanks for stopping by and reading my latest post! I love sharing my gardening adventures and reading your wonderful comments. Happy digging...Cheers Julia!!

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