August 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. I 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. Some 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. I 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.