I believe gardening should start early. Not just early in the year, but early in life. Nothing makes me happier than when I can combine the two. Getting my kids’ hands dirty (real dirt, not the weird stuff they pickup and I can’t identify) any time of year makes me smile and keeps them interested in where their food is coming from.
When #CollectiveBias asked for bloggers to head to Home Hardware , to put together a post about spring, I immediately signed up. I live very close to the original store in St. Jacob’s. I love the history behind the chain and the quaintness of this location in particular.
The seed selection is always ‘fresh’, if that’s the right word. I have been stung by old seeds and bulbs before. Nothing is more disappointing than going to all the work of planting and caring for seeds, only to find they don’t sprout. A quick check of the Plant By Date usually yields something that was last year’s stock and explains the failure to germinate. By then, it’s often too late to begin from seed again and the only choice is to buy plants.
Everything I need to begin planting is here in one spot, without having to schlep through a massive hardware store to find what I need.
Usually I have at least one of the E’s with me and as much as he loves to play in the dirt, his shopping attention span can be very short.
Starting seeds at home does not have to be a long process and the two youngest boys were more than happy to help. Be sure to use a really good seed starting mixture. It is light enough to let the tiny seedlings push through with ease. It is also packed with the right mix of nutrients to give your garden the right start.
A little paper underneath the trays will make clean up later much easier. I scoop healthy quantities of the soil starter onto the trays and then let the boys push the dirt around to evenly fill each cell.
To get the seeds deposited to an even depth, E3 pokes a hole with a pencil, just up to the edge of the metal piece that holds the eraser on. Because of the tiny size of the seeds, I put them in the holes. The boys’ wee fingers are the perfect size to cover the seeds back over.
In our house, the best place for the seed trays is on top of our fireplace. There is lots of light and because the heat is still on, the seeds stay warm. To protect the wood, I lay down an old towel and then a garbage bag. The soil needs to stay moist but not sopping wet. The trays you use should have holes in the bottom to allow excess water to drain into the drip tray below. Tempting though it may be, resist the urge to constantly take the lid off to take a peek. And lastly, mark your trays! I know you are sure you will remember which seeds you planted where, but I can almost guarantee there will be a mix up somewhere.
And like any good Wooden Shoe, you can use the papers you laid down under the trays will let you put the really good dirt back in the back to use next time.