Ranch Life, Thyme Out

DIY Simple Seed Starting

Getting the itch with the smell of spring! What do I do? YEP, start my seedlings! I make it easy applying some simple steps and making a plan. With each day bringing warmer temps and melting snow, I start imagining what kind of herbs and veggies we want to have on the ranch. Taking a walk around and seeing the seeds that worked last year and the ones that didn’t and making notes along the way. Now I can start my plan.

Completed tack shack

Completed Tack Shack

First DIY Step: VISUALIZE Today I took a walk around the ranch and visualized where I want some new growing herbs and flowers. Now that we have our cute tack shack, I want to put some bigger pots on the outside deck where they would get full sun. We don’t have much sun so I need to take what I can get! Next is the area we had the tires with the herbs for the horses to graze through. “Thyme Out Pasture”.  We were given a grant by our local St. Joseph’s Foundation last year in May of 2017 and it worked out beautifully. This area I would like to build out of tin some beds. We used tires to start out and since it was so successful we want to make them bigger. HUM…may need to make a special dinner tonight and chat with Dan about this one! Lastly, both Dan and I agreed we need to enlarge our veggie garden so I marked that out as well. NOTE…we still have over a foot of snow! Second DIY Step: Prepare Your seeds This part is fun! After my visualization and what flowers, herbs, and veggies we need I purchased the seeds. I use Mountain Herb but you sure can get your seeds anywhere. I also have a master gardener in our church who I will also use as a resource. I am excited to learn a lot from him this year! He is 93! After the seeds arrive I get my trays ready. I went to the local nursery where we bring manure and he gives me free dirt as well as these plastic trays. They hold a TON of seedlings!  Another idea is to ask your local nursery for any extra trays they don’t need. You can get these seed pods which are also awesome! They would be an expense vs free, but they work great and easy to use! Wanna try another idea that won’t cost you anything? Make your own! Use eggs shells or toilet paper rolls! Here is 8 ideas; DIY on that!
Egg Shell seedlings

Egg Shells

Lastly, fill the trays with soil and get your seeds planted and water at the bottom of the trays! I use popsicle sticks to mark my seeds. Just make sure you mark every tray what they are. How to make your own soil. If you compost, this is a wonderful way to use your homestead soil! Third DIY Step: Window Light, or Florescent Light? We have huge windows in our home and with every window is where I put my seedlings. But this isn’t ideal. I would like to work towards having a warm greenhouse and that is a dream of mine one day, but I also could go the extra mile and get some florescent lights and place the seedlings on a shelf. This is a wonderful way to grow your seeds. However, this would cost me some money. By the time I purchase at least 4 lights and have my hubby link this all up, it would be April. So I have chosen to use my windows and the greenhouse shelves. I found a picture for you of the fluorescent one in case you want to try this. It is a better way! Let me know too I always love to hear what others have done!
Green house

Our greenhouse!

Fourth DIY Step: Babying your Seedlings Make sure you check your baby’s every day and the trays are full of water. They will drink what they need. The biggest struggle is sunlight for me especially this time of year, hence the fluorescent system but whatever you choose you to pray for lots of sunshine! Once your season begins depending on where your zone is transplanting away! Some I will be putting into planters in April keeping them in our home until May. Most of our gardening won’t take place unfortunately until Memorial weekend. Such a bummer, but it’s Minnesota! God bless you all as you start your own herbs and veggies and living a healthy homesteading lifestyle! Lee