Spring Gardening, starts early in the greenhouse.

Seed pots in our greenhouse planted in recycled pots some even complete with the plant label.
Seed pots in our greenhouse planted in recycled pots some even complete with the plant label.
Our greenhouse allows us to escape the hectic life and enjoy planting and planning our spring garden.
Our greenhouse allows us to escape the hectic life and enjoy planting and planning our spring garden.

Grow your own garden plants early and save big while others are running off to the garden stores for spring planting.

While others are sitting around drooling over the spring seed catalogs we have been busy out in the greenhouse planting our spring seeds.

This might sound a bit strange as a getaway but I have to confess, I really look forward to getting out to the greenhouse each year, turning on the radio, yep radio, and getting all toasty while the cold winds of winter are still howling outside. It’s just a calming experience to get away from the hectic year end Holiday rush.

This time in the green house lets me enjoy the thoughts of the spring season to come and to think of new ideas and products to blog about or carry in our Self Sufficient Living Country Store at Cottage Craft Works .Com

Living in the Texas coastal zone we have to start our seeds between Christmas and New Years so they will be mature enough and allow to condition to the outside before planting. If we wait too long we risk getting into the Texas heat before tomatoes, and other less heat tolerant vegetables are able to mature.

Starting plants from seeds is very rewarding and saves us from having to spend a small fortune on plants in the spring. It also allows us to control and know where are plants are coming from. Plus we have them on our schedule and not having to wait for a store to receive their spring shipment.

We are still dependent on onion sets and seed potatoes to be stocked. We will make a special trip to a country store that stocks these early, as well as purchase our bulk seeds such as corn and beans. We just seem to have better luck with these than purchasing them in commercial packages.

Personally we like to use small plastic pots and nursery trays that we have accumulated over the years. Some we obtained when we didn’t have the greenhouse built, or needed to add a few plants that we didn’t have seed for and others we salvaged out of the dumpster at the end of a garden store season, complete with the plant labels on many of the pots.

The individual pots scoop up the potting soil easy, hold more than some of the peat pots and when the plants have matured they are easy to push up on the bottom and pull the root ball out of for transplanting into the garden. I think this is still being “Green” Considering how long we have used some of these plastic pots.

We will plant two or three seeds in each pot spreading them around in different areas and then pressing down into the soil with a finger. This way we are assured we will have at least one strong plant thinning out the ones we don’t want or transplanting them over to a new pot.

We always over plant, we don’t try to set the new plants out all at the same time. It is not uncommon to have your first spring plantings to be hit with a frost, or have a windy day destroy them. This allows us have back up plantings. Plus this also helps to stagger the maturity over several weeks.

If we do end up with an abundance of plants we always share them with a neighbor, who lets say may not be as organized and timely in getting their seeds in.

Raising plants from seed does take a lot of follow-up especially in a green house; they will dry out quickly and may need watering twice per day. Trays may need to be rotated to catch the sun light, and plants will need to be thinned and fertilized occasionally to give them a boost. We use a water soluble fertilizer for this.

If you don’t have a green house a large window will still allow you to start plants indoors. The large trays sold to go under an upstairs washing machine are perfect to set nursery trays in allowing you to water frequently with a sprinkling can and not having to worry about getting the floor wet.

Liz Stevens shares her stories and ideas on self-sufficient living. She and her husband also maintain Cottage Craft Works .Com to provide products and sustainable living knowledge to others who are looking for a simpler way of living. You can find all types of garden tools, farm and ranch products, food processing equipment, as well as books on gardening, organic gardening, along with over 3000 products for self-sufficient living on the Cottage Craft Works web site.

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