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03.26.14

Thyme to Sow

Right now retail stores and nurseries are loaded with racks of pretty little packages of seeds...it's hard to resist filling your basket full of them! If they don't have you #Itching4Spring...the rows of primula's definitely will ( that's another post coming this weekend....stay tuned....)

If you plan to start seeds indoors you've most likely seen the toilet paper tubes or egg carton planters or even just the egg shells themselves being shared as nifty planting vessels. Let me warn you, after so many watering's, these paper based liners break down pretty quick and become quite unstable for transplanting...even rotting faster than your seedling can grow!

And as far as the egg shells go, you're going to have to crack them eventually so the plant can put on size, risking damage to the young roots. As darling as this method appears the truth is egg shells take years to break down in the soil....which is why they get crushed with my boot when I throw them into the compost. I have tried it all, so I know from experience.

A simple tried and true method for the virgin gardener would be to use peat pellets. They look like little brown discs the size of a

44 Comments Displaying 15 of 44 comments | See Previous
  • Loretta B Keller, TX
    Thanks for the timely advice! I myself was just about to start some catnip seeds for my new kitty to enjoy all summer and wasn't sure the *best* way to get them going. I was thinking back to my gradeschool days (many, many moons ago-LOL) when we
  • Kristen P Wallingford, CT
    Although I am a avid gardener I am trying to grow from seed for the first time. How long before I put them into the ground should I sow my seeds. I won;t be able to plant here until late April early May on most crops.
  • Hi Kristen P Your seeds should say how 'many weeks before last frost' on the package...then just work back from there. For instance, If your last average frost is April 28 and the seeds say
  • Kristen P Wallingford, CT
    Thank you!
  • Linda Henning Wasilla, AK
    Kirsten P - as far as I've found there is no harm in starting earlier than the packet. since we have cool short summers I get seed started in Feb for a May 1 move to the greenhouse. But we can't count on that. Sometimes it means moving lots of pots every
  • Linda Henning Wasilla, AK
    Loretta - catnip is a mint, so in TX I bet you can seed any time. But you can start them any time and put them out in May. They will come back each year for free, even here in Alaska, and even after the cat has passed on....
  • Kristen P, like Laura Henning I also start my seeds earlier, although I don't have a greenhouse. I just transplant them into plastic cups with a hole in the bottom, set them in the trays and continue them in my dining room, where I start my seeds. This
  • Terri J York, PA
    Thanks for all the tips about planting seeds. I never thought about damaging the little roots b4 now when you have to break the egg shell.
  • Darreleen Wiles Fayetteville, AR
    I really appreciate the tips cus I'm planning an in ground garden this yr for the first time ever. Last yr I did a small raised bed of cucumber and watermelon with small amount of success. the bunnies really liked the watermelons and I struggled with
  • Kelly S Bremerton, WA
    When I was a child we would put the seeds directly in the ground, however that was in Illinois and I now live in the cooler and wetter Pacific NW. I haven't had much success with starting seeds early because I either drown them or forget to water them.
    • Kelly S Hello fellow webfooted rainy coast friend! No doubt about it, direct sowing is the best, but we have some pretty unpredictable weather in our part of the world so other methods need to
  • Kelly S Bremerton, WA
    The ones I have are some sort of fabric not muslin or canvas but like a cross between the 2. I'll be on the lookout for a tray to put under the shoe holders to catch the excess water. I just don't know which door to hang them on. It still gets too cold
  • Kelly S Bremerton, WA
    I started some peas and beans in peat pellets, some peas were directly sown in holes that I poked in the ground with #8 knitting needles along both the north and south fences in the back yard and the last 10 seeds were just broadcast. I'm performing
    • Douglas Hunt New Smyrna Beach, FL
      Kelly S Love the idea of using knitting needles to poke holes for seeds!
    • Kelly S Bremerton, WA
      Douglas Hunt , Thank you. I've been reading on here about not weeding between rows to reduce the need for weeding so I thought why not just poke holes in the ground and see what happens. The
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