March 11, 2013 by Kriscinda Lee Everitt
Of seeds, Čapek wrote:
Some people say that charcoal should be added, and others deny it; some recommend a dash of yellow sand, because it is supposed to contain iron. Others, again, recommend clean river sand, other peat alone, and still others sawdust. In short, preparation of the soil for seeds is a great mystery and a magic ritual.
When I started looking for materials with which to start my seeds, I hit Home Depot and Lowe’s just to see what was available. I found a weird situation: first, the vermiculite was cleaned off the shelves, which made me think, boy, I must be starting late or something. But then when I asked about just plain seedling trays (sans the pre-made compressed compost thingys), we were told that “they’re probably in the back; we haven’t processed them yet.”
So, on one hand, the vermiculite was flying off the shelves, but yet the seed-starting supplies weren’t out quite yet. And then, the choice wasn’t exactly varied. I could find no organic compost, expect online, and it would have taken forever for it to arrive (much longer than I had). And, everything said “MiracleGro,” which, well…no thanks (for reasons I won’t go into).
In the end, Big A found what I needed. I am using one part Thermo-O-Roc vermiculite and one part Nature’s Helper Premium Mushroom Compost. I also ended up snagging a bunch of strawberry flats for our local Bottom Dollar grocery store for free (and will grab more when I can).
I’m starting the Star and Moons melons and the various peppers first (I suspect we won’t see any melons until late summer, so I’d better get on them). Because of the setback with the heater, I’ll be a day or so late in starting these, which is a bummer, but I’m not going to get too upset about it.
What with the temperature issue (which we will get solved, pronto), it’ll be a little while before we start to see their little green heads popping up through the soil, but when we do, I will finish up what Čapek says about seeds.