Welcome to another great year of gardening! I’m super excited to share gardening tips and tricks, and learn new things along with all the staff and customers at Lacoste this year! This year on the blog I’m hoping to try out some “gardening hacks” from around the web, experiments with new varieties and old favourite plants, and as always new recipes from local produce! I hope you’ll come along with me, and share your experiences too!
Today, I have a few thoughts on starting seeds for springtime. The other night we were watching a program on Netflix called “The Mind of a Chef”. Chef Sean Brock is very keen on using heritage crops in his cooking, and is a big proponent of seed-saving from one year to the next. Starting seeds indoors can be a great way to get a head start on your garden for spring, and help to speed the transition out of winter!
By the end of March, it will be time to start any indoor seeding, so now is a great time to gather supplies. You’ll need a growing medium (peat moss), containers (cell packs are available at the store, egg-cartons will also work!), and a variety of your choice of seeds. Most seed packets will have general instructions regarding when to start the seeds, how much light they need, how far to space them and how to water, but here are a few more tips!
- Moisten the growing medium (peat moss) so that it isn’t soggy, but rather similar to the consistency of a wrung-out sponge.
- Cover the freshly seeded containers with a transparent lid. Once the seeds begin to germinate (sprout), remove the lid to allow air to circulate, and the plants to become stocky rather than stretch out.
- Grow-lights, or cool fluorescent tubes are the best option for providing light, however a bright sunny window will often do the trick too!
- Water the seedlings when the top layer of the soil appears dry. Use a small watering can with a fine spray. Be careful not to overwater, as soggy soil can lead to a fungal infestation!
- Seedlings first sprout with two “cotyledons” or “seed leaves”, once there are true leaves, you can begin adding fertilizer when you water. Begin at half strength for a few weeks.
- Once the risk of frost has passed, and you’ve gradually acclimatized your plants to outside, you can plant your plants in the garden!
When you’re choosing seeds to seed, consider what you will actually use, and enjoy in your garden. Basil is a great choice for beginners, as are beans. If you’d prefer to skip the veggies, and concentrate on flowers, pansies and petunias are also quite reliable!
Before we know it, all those little seeds will have turned into mature plants that every at-home chef can use for their own delicious creations!