One of my favorite gardening pastimes is definitely seed starting. It's so thrilling to put a little tiny seed in some soil and watch it morph into something completely different. And how amazing is it that you can buy a pack of seeds for a couple of dollars and have it produce huge amounts of valuable, tasty food?
I've bought seeds from a lot of different sources over the years. Many have disappointed me, so this year I stuck with the handful of companies whose seeds have been tried and true in the past, mainly Johnny Seeds and Renee's Garden.
In a couple of instances, I had to buy what I could find where I could find it, because I tend to obsess over certain varieties like a stalker. Case in point: I HAD to have Organic Black Spanish Radish and Purple Sprouting Broccoli seeds and the only place selling them was (ugh) Walmart. When the seeds arrived, I was pleasantly surprised to see they were actually from a company called Sustainable Seeds. We'll see how well they do; so far, seed germination has been excellent for both.
I'm also trying a new grow light this year, as shown in the picture at top. After using standard warm and cool fluorescent shop lights for many years, I've upgraded to the AntLux LED grow light and absolutely love it. It's cool to the touch but really powerful. (I feel compelled to tip my hat to all the pot growers out there who have revolutionized the growing industry with equipment advancements like these.)
For my cool season veggies started in the garage under the grow light, I also tried out another new tool: the Burpee seed starting kit. This tray is a little weird in that it has a mat that wicks water up through the bottom tray and keeps the coir/soil moist in the individual cells in the top tray. It seems to work pretty well, though, if seed germination is any indication; I am at nearly 100%.
Speaking of seeds, here's everything I've planted indoors. These were started around December 19 (yes, I need to keep better records...it's been awhile!)
Broccoli: Green Magic, Batavia, Purple Sprouting
Cabbage: Little Jade (Baby Napa), Pixie (Baby), Deadon (Red Savoy)
Cauliflower: Amazing White, Purple Crush
Celery: Conquistador, Merlin
Kale: Tuscan Baby Leaf, Lacinato, Purple Moon
Pak Choi: White Stem
I hear some of you snickering because I am attempting to grow celery in Florida. According to some here, it is an easy late winter/early spring crop for those of us in the northern half of the state. I'll believe it when I see it. (Let it be known that for 25 years, I heeded warnings in Texas to never even attempt it. Apparently I am getting more adventurous with age.)
Lastly, here are several things I direct-sowed in the garden over the weekend. (The afore-mentioned Black Spanish Radish is already poking through!)
Beet: Gourmet Blend (Detroit Dark Red, Chioggia, Golden)
Carrot: Calliope Blend (multiple colors)
Onion: Italian Red of Florence (Bunching/Scallion)
Peas: Oregon Sugar Pod II (Snow), Magnolia Blossom (Tall Snap), Royal Snap II (Snap), Golden Sweet (Snow)
Radish: Crimson Giant, French Breakfast, Easter Egg Blend, Black Spanish Round
Swiss Chard: Garden Rainbow
Leafy greens seeds (lettuce, spinach, arugula, etc.) will be scattered over a couple of the beds soon.
Also coming soon: I have the Southern Onion Collection on order from Territorial Seeds and they should actually arrive in a couple of weeks. I think I'll be giving a lot of these to James, as there are way too many in this collection for my somewhat limited space.
I should also be receiving my order of Adirondack Red Potato tubers sometime in March, which is borderline late for taters in North/Central FL, but it is what it is. I am trying these colorful grow bags for those.
Until next time...Happy New Year, and may your seed germination rate be near 100%!