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Our goal right now is to keep you from climbing the walls with boredom. So, hear us out, because we’ve got a truly effective remedy for midwinter blahs. All you need is some Coast of Maine Sprout Island Blend Seed Starter, a few packets of seeds, and a pinch of patience. Put all those ingredients together, and the remainder of winter is going to speed by in a blink.

Sure, you can buy plants at garden centers when spring finally rolls around. But we’ve got a better idea that will soothe your cabin fever while working gently with your wallet. When you start your own seeds, you save a heap of money. Plus, you get exactly the varieties targeted to your taste. Maybe you want white eggplants or purple cauliflower. You might take a shine to tall marigolds for cut flowers rather than the dwarf types for edging. Perhaps you crave gourmet mustard greens or rainbow chard or purple peppers or indigo cherry tomatoes or whatever.

We’re suggesting that you customize your garden and supplement the supply available at the garden center with favorites that please your taste. And you know what? It’s a snap. You can do this.

Seed starting is easy. You could go crazy with light carts, heating mats, and humidity chambers, for sure. But really, most seeds don’t need spa treatment. With the right soil and a sunny, south-facing window, you are golden to grow your own plants from scratch. In most cases, you should wait until days lengthen, but the seed packets will tell you when to sow seeds. Just count back from your last frost date and get your best garden ever in gear.

Start with old reliables. Some of your favorite herbs, veggies, and flowers are a snap. And even if broccoli isn’t exactly your favorite snack, sow it anyway. Members of the cabbage family such as kale, kohlrabi, cauliflower, broccoli, etc… are fulfilling first projects for newbies. Ditto for zinnias, cosmos, basil, nasturtiums, and many other faves. With the right soil (Coast of Maine Sprout Island Blend Seed Starter is carefully crafted to give your seedlings just the right drainage and components to get off to a good start), you can make this happen.

You can find seedling trays at most garden centers.

But in a pinch, any shallow pot with good drainage will do the trick. First, moisten your soil and let the water soak in for a couple of hours. Then, pack some Seed Starter blend into your tray or pot. Firm the soil down and level it off for a flat sowing surface. Then sow your seeds – leaving plenty of space between each seed. That’s the trick to success with seeds indoors. When seedlings are crowded, they spread diseases and compete for light. Again, read your seed packets to learn if your seeds want to be covered by a thin layer of soil or if they need light to germinate.

If they need light, just press them lightly into the seed starter surface and water with a spritzer. Or water by placing the pot in a shallow tray of water for a few minutes to soak up moisture from below. If they prefer darkness to germinate, cover the seeds with a layer of your Coast of Maine seed starter blend and water them lightly/gently so the seeds don’t wash up. And that’s it!

Now here’s where the patience comes in. Your seeds might take a week or more to germinate. Have faith. Keep calm and continue watering on. Never drench your seed tray, but don’t let the soil become very dry. Good things come to those who wait. And when the seeds begin to germinate (Hallelujah!), continue to give them water and as much bright light as possible. Coming up in a Future Blog: Transplanting your Seedlings!


Written by award winning author, Tovah Martin.  Photos also taken by Tovah Martin.  Find her books and more information on her website: tovahmartin.com.

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