I’ve found a couple noteworthy sites that I wanted to share with you all.
The first one is an intriguing idea for starting seeds that I plan on trying. The concept is simple and anyone can do it with a few recyclables I’m sure we all have saved and have on hand. I’m sure there are a lot of you out there that have already discovered this great method- but for those of you that haven’t, take a look at it. Trudi Davidoff, at wintersown.org was tired of the stress of getting all those seeds started in spring and came up with a great idea. You should read it, if you choose to, but I’ll try my best to describe the idea here too-
You want to find a container that has a clear lid if possible, but Trudi and others using this method, use a variety of containers. So lets use a lasagna pan as an example- the frozen kind that comes with a clear lid. Make drainage holes in the bottom and then make a few slashes or holes in the lid. Add the soil and water it well as usual. Sow your seeds- there are lists of plants that can be started this way on her site as well. Close the lid and secure it with tape, label it and set it outside in full sun...in winter! Now the idea here is that you’re working with nature- no heat, except what builds up in the container and the excess is vented through the holes in the lid. No artificial light. It’s watered by the rain and snow and might even freeze, but seeds not sown by us go through this cycle- so they’ll be fine, and the excess water drains out the bottom. The seeds know much better than we do when it’s time to germinate- is the idea. You’re making a mini greenhouse, but using it in winter and the seeds will come up when they should- there is no forcing here. It’s one step better than direct sowing because the seeds are protected just enough that germination has a much better chance.
Now here is the best part. When the seeds germinate you start making more holes in the lid each week or make the slits bigger. By the time the seedlings are ready for transplanting, they’ve been hardened off. The resulting plant is hardier, and can go right in the ground :). The transplants will be smaller than usual, but much stronger.
After reading through her site, and looking at the photo gallery, I am more than intrigued! I am definitely going to give this a try! There is one thing I know I’ll do different, however. The way I sow my seeds now, in single cells, whether it be soil blocks, 6 packs, 50 cell plug flat or 200 cell plug flat, makes it easier in the long run because there is no ‘pricking out’. A tedious job to say the least. I can’t stand untangling roots of little seedlings, hoping I don’t damage them in the process. Most people I’ve seen using this method just sprinkle the seeds when sowing. If there is going to be any part of it that’s tedious, I’d rather it be when I’m actually sowing the seeds, not transplanting them :). Of course there will be exceptions- like with really tiny seeds, but in general I will try to space them a little bit.
Maybe a few of you have tried this method- I’d love to hear all about your experiences with it! And if anyone wants to join me in trying this in the coming winter (seems so far away,) we can all cheer each other on- I may try to do the Mister Linky thing, if I can figure out how to use it :), or If I have time to maintain in. We have a long way to go until winter, so I’m going to start looking at the containers I want to use in the meantime.
Now onto the next site.
Sarah, at lettucegrow.org, has a really great project going. Along with quite a few volunteers, she is creating an organic garden at the Coffee Creek Prison for Women in Wilsonville. There are a few local businesses that have generously donated a lot of materials such as soil amendments, seeds, etc. That’s how I found out about it, through Concentrates, Inc. in Portland- I read about it on their blog. I think it is wonderful what they’re doing, so go check it out! I have attempted to contact Sarah to get more info and will do a follow up post about it when I hear from her.