Seed Starting 101

Jiffy Seed Starter KitIn reading the back of a variety of seed packets, I came to understand that it is in my soon-to-be garden’s best interest to start little seedlings for some of my garden-veggies-to-be rather than just plopping said seeds in the bare expanse of ground if/when I have a garden plot ready for sowing.

Apparently it’s a great way to give those little seedlings a head start in life — a Montesorri environment, if you will — and ensure a more likely road to vegetable-producing success.

My friend Babs offered to lend me her Jiffy seed starting kit, which consists of “peat pucks” set in a plastic tray with a clear cover to keep the moisture and heat in. Who knew such marvels existed?! Seeding my kind of way, with no dirt or bugs in evidence.

The peat pucks were already moistened and expanded to 6 times their original height, and seeds duly sown, when another friend mentioned egg cartons with starter soil work just as well. I’d thought of that, but my concern was that they wouldn’t be deep enough. They do seem like a less costly, more environmentally friendly option, provided they aren’t Styrofoam egg cartons.

Organic Gardening by Geoff HamiltonAnyway, I was feeling pretty good about my seed starting progress, despite several naysayers telling me that I’d started much too late. That is, until I read last night in Geoff Hamilton’s Organic Gardening that peat is a dwindling natural resource and that excavating peat bogs on an industrial scale destroys unique habitats and is damaging to the wider environment.

Yikes, is there no end to the ways we can harm the earth, no matter our good intentions? Well, maybe, but I’m heartened by the little tips of green now peaking out of a few of my peat pucks, nonetheless.

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