Čapek’s The Gardener’s Year: Seeds

3

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.

Agreed.

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).

My Awesome husband brought the stuff in for me. Vermiculite and mushroom compost!

My awesome husband brought the stuff in for me. Vermiculite and mushroom compost!

This is all you need to make newspaper pots (that can be transplanted straight into the garden, as they will decompose---this should be easier on those sensitive little root systems).

This is all you need to make newspaper pots (that can be transplanted straight into the garden, as they will decompose—this should be easier on those sensitive little root systems).

Tear each double-section in half, and then fold each section lengthwise.

Tear each double-section in half, and then fold each section lengthwise.

I'm making my pots about four inches tall.

I’m making my pots about four inches tall.

Wrap around the base of the bottle (or whatever you're using).

Wrap around the base of the bottle (or whatever you’re using).

Tape edge, then start folding the bottom in.

Tape edge, then start folding the bottom in.

And again...

And again…

...and voila! Tape the bottom.

…and voila! Tape the bottom.

Pull out your bottle and you've got yourself a nice little pot.

Pull out your bottle and you’ve got yourself a nice little pot.

Al usual, Moggy inspects everything to to ensure a quality product.

Al usual, Moggy inspects everything to to ensure a quality product.

Each of my strawberry box flats (which I got for free at the local Bottom Dollar grocery) holds thirty pots.

Each of my strawberry box flats holds thirty pots.

One part compost.

One part compost.

And equal part vermiculite.

And equal part vermiculite. This is lighter and airier than the compost, which allows space for the roots to grow more easily.

Mix thoroughly, breaking up any compost clumps.

Mix thoroughly, breaking up any compost clumps.

Ta-da!

Ta-da!

Moggy thinks he's got a new litter box. Not cool...

Moggy thinks he’s got a new litter box. Not cool…

Fill up your pots. I filled mine to within about an inch from the top, then when they were all full, I shook the flat to settle it a little, then added more.

Fill up your pots. I filled mine to within about an inch from the top, then when they were all full, I shook the flat to settle it a little, then added more. I did not pack it down! You want it to be loose, but not too loose.

Ready!

Ready!

Look at them, just a-waitin' for some seeds!

Look at them, just a-waitin’ for some seeds!

Turns out, the sun room is way, way too cold, and it so happened that our space heater decided to go on strike as soon as I put it in the sun room. So I have the pots a spritz before covering them with plastic (to retain the moisture)...

Turns out, the sun room is way, way too cold, and it so happened that our space heater decided to go on strike as soon as I put it in the sun room. So I have the pots a spritz before covering them with plastic (to retain the moisture)…

...and putting them in the bathroom, which stays fairly warm if we keep the door shut.

…and putting them in the bathroom, which stays fairly warm if we keep the door shut.

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.

And now, enjoy Gorefest, from the Netherlands, with “Demon Seed.”

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3 thoughts on “Čapek’s The Gardener’s Year: Seeds

  1. So cool, Kris! And to throw in one more item to the mix, I add coffee grounds when I’m doing certain plants (berries usually being one). My most successful seed starting year was when I belonged to an organic CSA and used their peppers to get seeds and start my own pepper plants the following spring. (I was overly ambitious.) So excited to watch this progress!

    • Kriscinda says:

      Thanks! I’m hoping to get seeds from as many veggie types as possible from this season. We’ll see… =D Coffee grounds will go into the compost pile when that pile happens. Otherwise, just getting the seeds into the pots of the mix I have is challenging enough right now. =P ;)

  2. Linne says:

    Reblogged this on A Random Harvest and commented:
    For my gardening friends (if you’re harvesting just now, this will be useful as you plan over the winter). Good info on making your own starter pots for seeds. ~ Linne

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