Yep, Spring has finally hit the South Central Pennsylvania! YEA! It could go to winter again next week, who knows, but for now, it’s spring!
I’m experimenting with starting a few (maybe several) seedlings inside this year. I don’t have a greenhouse, so I set up a growing room in my spare bedroom. This is what I have going on as of mid April! Zinnias planted in 72 cell trays. I started the seeds March 19th.
I’m also experimenting with soil blocking. This is a European method of seeding that uses very little space. Lisa Mason Zeigler of The Gardner’s Workshop has the low down on all things soil blocking. She literally starts thousand of plants inside a 10×10 room with shop lights every year. Its a very different process and I’m trying to figure things out, but so far, my snaps are doing great. We learn from our mistakes, right……
The seeds are planted into each 3/4″ block of soil. They should be ready to plant out much earlier than if I would have started them in the plastic seed starting trays. Much better for the environment, too. I started soil blocking March 30th.
This is the equipment needed for soil blocking…
I purchased the soil blocking mix, (the mix needs to be a special blend because you want the soil to stick together more than regular seed starting soil) seeds and tray from The Garnener’s Workshop. The soil blocker I purchased from Johnny’s Seeds. As you can see, I can get 40 seedlings on one 5×10 tray.
Lisa Mason Zeigler has great tutorials on her website and has written some very informative books on growing flowers. They are all listed on her website.
For the regular 72 cell seed starting kit, I filled the cells with wet (not dripping) seed starting soil, then seeded the tray. I purchased my seed starting kits at Dollar General.
I put the seed tray on a heat mat, purchased on Amazon, put the dome on that came with the 72 cell seed starter kit, and within two days, yes, two days, 50% of the seeds germinated. I then took the seeds off the heat mat and put it under regular shop lights. The shop lights should be about 3″ above the seedlings. Not all seeds will germinate that quickly.
Why a heat mat? The room temperature in the spare bedroom that I’m growing my plants in (I don’t have a greenhouse) is about 68 degrees. The soil temp in the seed tray is about 15 degrees cooler, so the heat mat brings the soil temperature up to about 70 degrees which is perfect. Not all seeds want heat, so you need to read the back of the seed packets and research, research, research.
Why shop lights? The seedlings need about 16 hours of light a day that way they won’t become too leggy.
I’ll fill you later with what made it and what didn’t…..
Talk to you soon!
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