The most basic skill necessary to close the loop on sustainable, home grown food is seed starting. While most commonly associated with late winter in preparation for spring and summer gardens, seed starting can be done anytime. If you live in a climate that allows for an extended growing season in the summer or if you plan to grow crops in the fall (as you should), now is the perfect time to prepare for fall seed starting.
Seed Starting Tools
When it comes to starting seeds, the most critical elements for seed starting are warmth and moisture. While the specifics can be varied depending on what you have available, tt is important to ensure that your seed starting medium (or pellets) are thoroughly dampened prior to sowing your seeds, and to keep the medium damp, but not too wet. In most cases this is easy enough to achieve by covering your seeds with a dome or other similar lid. On a small scale this can be done by using old drink bottles as mini terrariums. Cut the bottle into two pieces, leaving a base that is 2 or 3” high and add a few small drainage holes. Once you have filled the base with medium and seeds, cover it with the top portion of the bottom to create a greenhouse/terrarium effect that will keep moisture in the container longer.
Seeds can be started in paperboard egg cartons, pots made from newspaper, even used egg shells! Whatever you use, be sure to clearly mark your seedlings when they are planted. Don’t rely on your memory, especially if you are planting more than one variety of such favorites as tomatoes. It is easy to forget what you planted where and that can leave to a lot of confusion down the road, so save yourself the hassle and mark your seed starts now.