Kitchen Counter Economics Rotating Header Image

Plant ’em if you’ve got ’em

If Aunt Toby hears one more person tell me that they are tired of the winter already, I’m probably going to run screaming for the nearest exit.

This winter has been too long for everyone, everywhere. You name a location except on the Equator which has not had more than it’s usual taste of the winter this season and I’m buying tickets to ship the DH and me there, pre-paid express. I am damn tired of the winter too. And the seed catalogs coming earlier than usual has not helped the situation.

Therefore, Aunt Toby is making an executive decision and is starting seeds for a little window-sill garden. Something to get my hands in the dirt. Something to perhaps get some fresh greens on the table. Something to just see some seeds coming up (Aunt Toby has very simple needs…just seeing seeds coming out of the dirt is pretty exciting at this point).

Something I did (because I know myself pretty well at this point) last fall, was that I ordered seeds for things that germinate pretty easily in cooler soil, and then I put the envelop into the fridge and forgot about it. These were packed for the 2009 season but as long as you do not open the envelops, you’ve got a pretty decent shot of getting some germination out of them, especially if you store them in a cooler place. Some people store them in a screw-top jar in the fridge; I don’t go that far. Some seeds keep their potency better than others (tomatoes are one good example of a seed that can go through everything right up to a flamethrower and still germinate, which people who have used heat treated sewage sludge have found, much to their chagrin when tomato plants start coming up in their lawns).

So, here is my little experiment. I’m using one of those nifty plastic salad greens boxes that grocery store chains use. It has a lid that snaps down tightly, which will hold in the moisture and warmth. I poked a bunch of holes in the bottom for drainage and put in a mix of peat moss, pearlite, and vermiculite (it’s what I have at the house; a good basic seed starting mix will work; you want something nice and light) and moistened it with hot water (peat moss needs warm water otherwise it just lays there). My little experiment is that I also put an envelop of spinach seeds that we only used part of last season in. It’s from the 2009 growing year but it’s not as if I stored them very well once I’d used them; I just threw them in the fridge with the rest of the seeds. So, we’ll see how all of these same season seeds do. I planted a lettuce mix from Pine Tree Garden Seeds (they are from Maine) that we like a lot. It’s called Winter Lettuce and is a bunch of early greens that come up nicely. I’m also trying out a mix of basils because I can always use those, plus these poor neglected Spinach seeds.

I planted the seeds in their rows, marked them, damped them down from the top with a spray of warm water and snapped the lid on. Then I put them over a heating mat in our basement under a fluorescent fixture.

Let’s see how they do.

Blog Widget by LinkWithin


  1. Karen says:

    Glad to know I’m not the only one needing to play in the dirt. Philadelphia hit the high 40s yesterday after about 10 days near freezing, and I spent 2 hours mucking around in the yard, knowing that it was too early to do anything useful but unable to restrain myself.

  2. WolfSong says:

    This is why we do sprouts at our house. By this time, we’re all so fed up with winter-and seed starting isn’t for another 2 months!-that seeing anything grow boosts the spirit. Last year, the Kid and I did 2 jars of sprouts a week, 1 mung bean for stir fries, soups and omelets, and 1 alfalfa for fresh eating and giving the dog gas-because the dog loves sprouts, but oh boy do we pay for her love of them!

    We’ve tried growing pots of greens over winter, but the other 4 foots think it’s a kitty grazing garden. I know kitties like and need greens too, but when the seedlings are up enough to start the second leaves and then you find them nipped to the ground…well, the kitties run ’cause Mama’s yelling. Stinkers! LOL!

  3. Kathleen says:

    I’ve been thinkig of starting seeds too. Must be the angle of the sun or almost Groundhog Day or somethng like that. I like the Pinetree Lettuce Mix too

Bad Behavior has blocked 821 access attempts in the last 7 days.