Starting seeds inside

Every January, my mind goes to starting seeds for the spring.  I cannot tell you how many years I have done this, most of the time failing miserably. Either I plant the seeds too soon, or the seedlings get root rot, or never come up at all.  It is why the owner of my local garden center likes me so much, I always end up buying seedlings.  Yet, these little jump-ups appeared in the driveway last spring as complete volunteers.


What is it about that seed catalog that comes in the mail this time of year?  It is a gardeners thing, to dream of tomatoes and flowers, sweet yellow peppers and juicy strawberries when it is freezing cold outside.  I love looking at them, but when they want $11 in shipping for four packets of seeds (it’s based on the total cost, not weight), I’ll get them at the local garden center instead.  I enjoy browsing the internet too, and found these lovely antique seed catalog covers courtesy of the Smithsonian Library.  Aren’t they wonderful?

AlneerCatalog ChildsSeed1898 FrotscherSeedCo    GeneralSeed  StecklerSeed1899  StorrsSeed

So now I’ll dig out my gardening books to look at the pictures and figure when to start the seeds.  Every year I swear it is going to be different, and this year is no exception.  I have a new idea of how to keep the seeds warm and moist.  Our last frost date is April 22, so I need to plant the seeds about 8 weeks ahead of that date.  That puts planting time around Feb 25 – March 5.  Just so happens that is the time of the moon ideal for planting above ground crops and flowers, from new moon to full moon, according to my new Farmer’s Almanac calendar.

I have been saving these plastic cartons for a while.  These are the ones that the grocery stores sells baked goods in.  It occurred to me that they are really the ideal size for starting seeds, plus the lid closes to create a tiny greenhouse.

plastic containers

Plastic container

They have flat tops and bottoms, so they are stackable in the window for sunlight and warmth.

Seeds stacked 2

This is the winter I am going to try growing torenias from seed. I have the seed-starting soil ready, and the outside marked.  Now all I need are seeds, which should show up in the garden center any day now.

seeds sown and labeled

I brought the Christmas Cactus inside and watered it in October when it got cooler. I have ignored it all summer. I did this too soon, because it bloomed before Thanksgiving.

Christmas Cactus buds

Pretty flowers, aren’t they? I took these photos in November.

Christmas Cactus white

Christmas Cactus pink

The violets haven’t bloomed in years. January is a good time to clean them up, and add more soil to their pots.  They need feeding too, if I ever hope to have them bloom again.

African violets

So I have my containers and potting mix ready for the end of February so I can start on the garden.  Until then, I have lots of books to play with and plan.

Did you bring in any of your plants? How do you start seeds?

5 thoughts on “Starting seeds inside

  1. Thanks for sharing your gardening tips. I live in the desert of south California and am enjoying radish this year. It’s very easy to grow this vegetable and I learned to eat the greens raw as well.

  2. Girl you never cease to amaze me. You are so active, have sew much fun, a full time job, a full time hobby (or ten) and you write these wonderful and informative blog posts… Wowzer! Thanks for all the info – on the wardrobe too. Xo. – Karen

  3. Pingback: Tuesdays With A Twist #92

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