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 the ranch seeing the seeds that worked last year, the ones that didn’t, and making notes along the way. Now I can start purchasing my seeds.
How to Get Started
Purchasing the seeds this early can be tricky but more and more I see stores like Fleet Farm and Menard’s preparing early too knowing there are folks like us who begin our seedlings early. I first outline my gardens and design what will go where and what we for sure want to plant. Designing your gardens helps you not overbuy plus stay focused on what will grow well in the different areas you want a garden. We have a TON of shade so I have to work that angle too.
First DIY Step
Visualize: Like I stated above picture, draw out, take a walk around your home or area and design you the layout of plants. Since we have this adorable new Tack Shake, I want to add pots both on the ground and hanging. We also have a Thyme Out pasture now fenced off so each of the planters needs herbs for both horses and us. This is the area without much sun, so I have to watch which herbs can grow in this wooded area. We were given a grant by our local St. Joseph’s Foundation last year in May of 2017 and it worked out beautifully!
DIY Step 2
Preparing your seeds is the fun part! Getting your hands in the dirt when there is snow outside is AWESOME! Here are some ideas for planting your seedlings if you don’t want to use the traditional plastic tray method which also is a money saver. I think you will like the ideas too!
The dirt we use is our own compost. I highly recommend doing your own and have a post on how to prepare your dirt if you want to check that out here. There is nothin’ like making your own homestead potting soil!
Once the seeds are cozy in the dirt, you need to make sure you mark them well. I mean WELL! It will be 5 months before mine goes into the ground and a lot can happen to tape along with the trays and even the pop cycle sticks, so I always mark in many ways.
Lastly, fill the trays up with water and spray the midst on the top. This is how I water daily is by waterbottle misting. It’s light on the seedlings and acts like soft rain.
DIY Step 3
Lighting…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 fluorescent 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!
DIY Step 4
Babying your Seedlings Make sure you check your babies 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!
Whatever you do in your prepping and planting, enjoy the learning along the way! Every year I change because of our climate and of course how the gardens did the year before. It is fun to see your hard work in full bloom come in the middle of summer!
Love deeper, talk sweeter,