Wait…was all that subzero weather with constant ice and snow just a dream? It went from below zero to fifty degrees over night here in Ohio. The seeds I picked out over the winter arrived a few weeks ago safely snuggled in their padded shipping envelopes. I get so much pleasure from opening these packages, spreading them all out, and viewing all of their beautiful covers. Seed companies are really outdoing themselves these days with the amount of artistic effort they put into these little packets of hope. Sadly, they have been sitting and collecting dust in my gardening basket waiting for the weather to break.
Normally I begin starting some seeds like tomatoes, peppers, slow germinating flowers, and early crops of lettuce during the last week of February, but I wasn’t about to try to heat the leaky, 8’x 4’plexiglass structure that is my greenhouse in that kind of weather. This weekend my son and I got most of our early seeds into their respective flats and on to their cozy heating mats in the aforementioned leaky greenhouse.
I was standing in the kitchen this afternoon regretting not having gotten an earlier start on at least my salad garden plants and thinking of my gardening friends who don’t have greenhouses when my eyes landed on an empty, plastic, baby spinach container that was sitting on top of my pile of recyclables. Duh, how easy is that? Why didn’t I think of this two weeks ago? The easiest, cheapest little salad garden starter ever. Even though I already had the salad crops started in the greenhouse I had a lot of extra seeds left over. I thought I would try this out for my friends who have asked me about getting some seeds started in their homes and also so that I can get a jump start on my season next year if we get socked with another arctic winter. Plus kids like little projects like this. Its a little easier for them to wrap their brains around than a whole greenhouse full of seedlings and easier for them to care for.
I cut the lid off, poked a few holes in the bottom half of the container for drainage, set the bottom inside the detached lid to catch the run off and wallah! Add two inches of potting soil and you are ready to plant for a total of under $10 for seeds, soil, and a free seed starting set up.
I let my 6 year old son plant all of the seeds since it was an easier task to finish and be satisfied with than the 500 seeds that got planted earlier in the greenhouse. We planted two half rows of different types of lettuces leaving the second half of these rows to seed for another crop in two weeks. Then we planted a row with one Sungold Cherry tomato( a few seeds are placed just below the surface and thinned after germination), two Carbon purple tomatoes, two Friariello Di Napoli peppers, and finally a full row of basil. You will want to keep the container in a sunny window and moist but not soggy until germination.
I will continue to post my progress with this project throughout the next two months. They should be fine in this container for at least three to four weeks. Stay tuned!