Sunday, February 19, 2012

Gardening 2012 - Seed Starting

Well, it's 8 weeks to the "last frost" date for our area, so it's also time to start starting seeds. For the first batch we've got parsley, thyme, basil, eggplant, and some spicy Calabrese peppers. In a couple more weeks we'll start tomatoes, then about the middle of March zucchini. This year we're also growing broccoli raab, beets, carrots, and swiss chard, all of which will be direct seeded along with some red cippolini type onions that will go in from sets.

To get things moving in our chilly basement, we're using a heating pad underneath the seed starting tray. In a perfect world it will provide just enough (and not too much) warmth to get the seeds moving. According to the instructions, that's 10 degrees warmer than ambient. The manufacturer suggests using a thermostat, but the basement is cool enough that I'm hoping it won't be necessary.

The tray with the first five varieties loaded, the tray looks like this:

And after a couple hours with the heat on it's looking good; not too hot, but warmer than my basement:

The heated seed starting tray is this one:

We've also got a lighting system we won't actually need for a week or so:

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