It is nearly March, and that means it is time to start thinking about starting seeds! We grow a huge garden and tons of herbs every year. To ensure that our plants are organic and healthy, we start many of them ourselves. There are so many great reasons to grow some of your own food. Better nutrition, less exposure to pesticides and other harmful chemicals, and saving money are just a few. Early childhood professionals believe that teaching children to garden is the best way to engage them with nature and teach them the principle of consequences.
Some basics to know about starting your seeds:
- Purchase seeds that are organic. That means that they have no exposure to pesticides. My favorite place to purchase seeds is from Seeds of Change.
- Look for Heirloom seeds as much as possible. Heirloom means that they are not genetically modified or lab created. Often, Heirloom veggies are very unique and colorful.
- Purchase an organic soil blend to start your seeds. I usually use organic Miracle Grow seed starting soil.
- Not all seeds should be started inside, read the seed to packet to know if you should start it indoors or wait to sow it in the garden later.
- Start your seeds 6-8 weeks before you hope to move them outside to the garden or containers.
- Always bless your seeds! Before you ever put them in the ground, hold them to your heart and bless them with health, growth, and gratitude. Every time you water them, bless them and thank them again. I always praise and love my plants; it makes a big difference in their growth and health.
- Do some good reading on the best way to start your seeds. I love the magazine and website, Mother Earth News. There is a treasure trove of excellent ideas and information on gardening.
After your seeds have sprouted and you have placed them in a sunny window, you will need to give them some extra nutrition. Start fertilizing when your seedlings have developed their second set of true leaves. We make organic comfrey tea to fertilize our plants. To make comfrey tea:
To a clean 1 gallon milk jug, place 1 cup shredded or chopped organic comfrey leaves. You can buy comfrey at most health food stores. Fresh is the best, but dried is more readily available and will also work. Fill the jug with warm water and place in a warm place with the lid on loosely, so that air can escape. Shake the jug every few days to make sure the comfrey isn’t just floating at the top. Let it sit for 3 weeks, then your fertilizer is ready to use. Seedlings cannot handle potent fertilizer, so we add 1 T per quart of water. You can water your house plants with it as well. Obviously, it will take a long time to go through your gallon of Comfrey Tea. It is fine to keep using it until it is gone, just remember not to put the lid on tight in storage. You DO NOT want this to explode, it smells horrible! Even better, store it in the garage.
This is a great article about finishing your seedlings off and planting them in the garden: http://www.motherearthnews.com/organic-gardening/planting-seedlings-zmaz86mjzgoe.aspx
Above all, have fun and enjoy being a part of the miracle of growing. I truly believe that watching a seed transform in to a plant that creates food is one of the most magical experiences that you can have.