Wednesday, 18 March 2015

Seed Starter and Seedlings and Sprouts - Oh My!


It's not just about plunking seeds into some soil-less seed starter mix.  There's the hours of that final wash, even though we did clean up in the fall, the pots and trays just sitting garage gathered a few bits of this and that moth and spider webbing.  My hands are a bit tender today, must remember to pick up rubber gloves for next time.

all washed and ready to grow
trays eagerly waiting for tomorrow

Leeks are the first to be seeded, they take the longest to grow.  We started the seeds at the end of February, hundreds of them.  They should be ready by September for our wonderful soups and stews.

hundreds of happy little basils
 Of course, herbs can be grown anytime.  We plan on having a very large selection of basils this year so why not get started as soon as possible, right?  We'll have all of the popular herbs as well.  I'm not sure if the rosemary survived the winter in the greenhouse in their pots, we'll see in about a week, it looks pretty good out there.

Our celery went to seed in the greenhouse last year so I tested to see if the seeds were good.  Yup, looking pretty good.  Celery here we come.  
celery and arugula

The hot peppers were started just after the leeks, our season is so short.  I'll put as many into the small greenhouse as I can to let them get the maximum heat they need, respecting their required space at the same time.  Some will go into the garden and will need special care during the late summer/fall nights.  

We started some of the edible flowers that will be enveloped into the Salad Greens.  They're coming along quite nicely.   


I thought you might be interested in the sprout growing process.  I'd never grown sprouts before January this year, was really itching to have something growing before the spring salads began and I wanted to eat green food that came from my own doing.  So, enter sprouts.

I had seen the sprouting packages at Rainbow Foods while shopping there for the most possible local kale and remembered my friend Cynthia telling me how easy it was to sprout.  I had my doubts, did some research and made the commitment by telling my customers I would soon have sprouts for them.  There was no turning back at that point.

I began with a couple of selections of Mumm's Sprouting Seeds; Crunchy Bean Mix and Spring Salad Mix.  I learned very quickly that if I began the process Sunday evening for the Salad Mix, we'd all have Sprouts by Friday.  The Crunchy Bean Mix was different, they actually come about in about two days.
I believed I had this down to a science when lo and behold the days started to get longer.  Apparently longer days means that Sprouts take less actual days to develop.  Now I'm soaking them Tuesday and Wednesday to be ready for delivery Friday.

Sprout seeds waiting to grow their "tails" in a north window.  
The Spring Salad Mix is soaked for 2 to 6 hours, then rinsed at least twice per day (I rinse about 4 times per day, I'm a little nutty about that).  The Crunchy Bean Mix is soaked for 8 hours or overnight and rinsed twice (aka 4X) a day.
Sprouts are so nutritious, all of the goodness of the entire plant is in each teeny tinny little bitty seed - wow.  And they taste wonderful!

Oh and I do end up buying kale each time I get more sprout seeds.  Thank goodness for those Quebec farmers who have the means to grow for us through the winter.  Oh, I can hardly wait until I can go out to the field and pick my own.

 I'll report in soon after the Big Plant-athon tomorrow.  Have a great every day from now until then.

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