Starting seeds for the Fall Garden

recycling seed traysAugust 1st was on my calendar as the day to start the Fall Garden. I can’t believe it came so fast. I was prepared to have a relaxing summer day, lounge by the pool, make a caprese salad, you know. But duty calls and the seeds must be sewn. I’m starting small because I don’t have much room.  Two trays, Broccoli, Broccoli Raab, and Violet Cauliflower from Sicily. All of my seed starting cells are dirty from spring so I have to clean them up for the next round of babies.  I have been told that you must wash your plastic trays in a bleach and water solution to get rid of any disease or funk from the previous resident.  making plant labelsrecycle old plant tagsI don’t use bleach so I opt for vinegar.  Fill a five gallon bucket 3/4 of the way with cold water and then add 1/2 gallon of regular distilled vinegar. Mix it up and submerge each cell tray for a 30 seconds or so swishing it around to remove any dirt or debris and creepy crawlers.  Let the trays dry in the sun. In the meantime, I make tags for each tray so I know what the heck I planted in there. I don’t have my own personal tags for our little farm, so I recycle old ones that I have from plants that I purchased last spring.  labels for each seed traySome of them are pretty wide so you can cut them in half and get double-duty.  I cover the front of the label with white paper and packing tape so I can write the name of each seedling on it with a Sharpie.  Once my tags are made, my trays are dry and ready for filling.  I’m definitely not the expert on starting plants from seed.  I have tried and failed with most vegetables but had unexpected luck with tomatoes so I forge ahead. I fill the trays 1/2 way full and then place 2-4 seeds in each cell.  Then I cover the seeds with good potting soil and shake the trays so everything levels out.  Packing the dirt down is not a good idea because that pushes out much needed oxygen from the soil.  Once they are level, I put in the appropriate tag and water, 5 times.  starting the Fall gardenI water with a rain spout on my hose or watering can and soak the tops of the cells. Then I let it seep in completely before going back and repeating.  I do this 5 times total.  Then, at this time of year, I leave the seedlings to germinate out in the sun, keeping a constant eye on their moisture levels and the temperature outside.  They absolutely cannot dry out or be out in too scorching of a sunny day. Believe it or not, I had little heads peeking out of the dirt less than one week later.  Things are happening.

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