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This Weeks Project

Each week (I hope) or twice a month, will feature something we do around here...

I will archive these projects in the Blog - Farm Tales under Weekly Projects.


Starting Seeds Indoors

We grow lots of vegetables here. All different kinds. And more than one variety of most.. I have eight types of kale, and a couple dozen kinds of tomatoes, and five kinds of green beans (well they aren't all green)...

We start everything from seed right here. This is a lot of work, but you can't get the varietals I grow from a big box store, so we have to start them ourselves.

I spend my time in December and January going through the catalogs and choosing seeds, picking out new ones to trial, and shopping for better deals.

I also inventory leftover seeds, and determine how much of which kind I need. Each packet has to be checked and counted, and determined if they are still going to germinate. I then spend some time ordering thousands of seeds from some of my favorite suppliers.

And planning. Lots of planning. The year is just starting. I love this part.

This is what my kitchen looks like at this time of year - stacks of flats...

Some vegetable seeds are planted directly in the soil in the spring. Those vegetables include the snap peas, green beans, edamame, cucumbers, carrots, parsnips, turnips, radishes,spinach, and corn to name a few.

However, most of our vegetable seeds, I start in flats in my kitchen. Some of the plants are started in flats to give them a jumpstart on the growing season.

Tomatoes, eggplants, peppers, and others will only grow when the weather is warm and take a long time to bear fruit. Because of this, if we planted them as seed outside, we might never get to harvesting any before frost kills them off. So they are started early and after the last frost date, we transplant them outside in prepared beds.

There are other vegetables that could be started as seeds in the soil in early spring, that I still start indoors. This is to try and get an even earlier harvest for broccoli, cauliflower, cabbages, kale, etc. This way, I can plant something else in their spot after harvesting. We have limited space, and planning is important.

And then there are the vegetables that I start in flats to get more succession plantings in a season. These are mainly the salad greens, beets, etc. The goal for these vegetables is that as each plant is harvested, I have a new 6 week old plant able to take it's place. This allows us to grow a up to 4 more harvests in one bed than you would get by doing direct seeding.

I buy a special seed starting mix, that is neutral pH and fortified with worm casings and meal worm guano. It is extremely light and fluffy and great for starting seeds, but it isn't cheap.

Each tiny seed is panted by hand. We aren't a big enough operation to justify spending that kind of money on equipment, at least for now, so we plant each seed by hand. The flats are watered and the humidity domes are put on top...and I wait.

It may seem silly, but every time a flat start to sprout I get excited. It's like magic to me still.

My Favorite Seed Resources...

There are many places to order seeds from. These are a few of my favorites...

Fedco Seeds

Pinetree Garden Seeds



Bakers Creek Rare Seeds

You can do a search online for any of them...but for small packets that are reasonably priced - try Pinetree at - they are a really nice small family business. Nice folks there.

And the beds after transplanting...