Happy March! Today is the day I will start many different kinds of tomatoes and peppers and perennial herbs. You still have time to get organized and start your own. Need some pointers? An older post on the SKG resources page has a printable info page.
Most of the people I’ve talked to over the years have run into trouble with lack of heat, not enough light, or some combo of the two that proved to be deadly for their seedlings.
It’s important to keep seedlings warm, even if you’re keeping the rest of your house at lower temperatures to save on heating costs. Plants can’t put on another sweater like you can, and if you want healthy plants they really need to stay warm.*
…Unless you want to grow kale, broccoli, cabbage, cauliflower, and other members of the brassica family. They can survive a light frost outdoors, so they should be able to handle an eco-friendly refrigerator home.**
As for light: I’m finding that even with my super amazing south-facing windows here in our new house in Hamilton, I need to supplement with artificial light. It makes for stronger seedlings. They’ll be less likely to grow spindly and tall if they’re getting extra lighting indoors.
Another thing that will help make your seedlings stronger and more sturdy (and prevent damping off!) is to turn on a fan at the lowest setting and aim it right at them. It’s kind of like lifting weights for them. Their stems will grow more of the tough fibres that help keep them from falling over or breaking.***
Check out this printable sheet for more information. If you have any questions please contact me, I’m happy to help. And if you can think of anyone who could use this information please share the garden love.
*I create a little ‘germination chamber’ for starting my seeds. To see pics please join the Kitchen Garden Club – by SKG on Facebook. All are welcome! I just posted photos about this, PLUS you get to meet lots of other people who are growing their own food. In this group we ask questions, help each other out, and have show-n-tell regularly.
**I had a refrigerator house when we lived in Kitchener. I was never warm in winter, even with layers. Our new house is half-n-half. The basement requires long underwear and the upstairs requires stripping to shorts and t-shirt. Not sure if that’s an improvement or not.
***Please note: They should be twitching slightly, not bent over as if in a hurricane. Think gentle breeze, not gale-force wind. Move the fan farther away from your plant babies if the lowest setting is overkill.