It's SEEDLINGS time!

Yup, it's that time of the year again - time to start preparing for spring, checking your seeds and maybe even start planting some for early harvest. Not all veggies of course can be planted this early. It's only mid-February of course, but you can start with the hardier type that can be transplanted outside in March/April - like Broccoli and Swiss Chard that are not afraid of a little frost at night and actually like colder weather.

I started my trays already thanks to my dear honey, who knowing my "quirks" as he calls it, bought me mobile cold frame. Normally you can build your cold frame outside and plant first early salads or herbs and let the sunshine warm it up through glass frames creating much warmer inside environment. Well mine is slightly different. It's a 4 shelf structure on wheels.
As you can see from picture above, he wired fluorescent lights on each level so my seeds won't get "weedy". It's also completely covered in plastic that can be un-zipped if it gets too warm inside but that's what allows warm air to stay inside and not escape into the room. So all I had to do was make a seedling mix - part organic peat moss and part soil, fill my seedling cups that are made out of recycled carton and is biodegradable, soaked it with water and planted my seeds. So far I have Broccoli of course, Swiss chard, 3 types of basil - regular sweet basil, purple and lemon type. Also some arugula, salad, some pink Brandywine tomatoes for early start - majority will be planted in about 3 weeks from now.

Each shelf can fit 3 of such trays so closer to mid-march I will start on my tomatoes, peppers and other goodies. By then I hope to transplant my Broccoli and Swiss Chard outside and clear out more space for new batch. I will be rotating seedlings every month or so to get smaller amounts but keep it growing in waves. This way it won't overwhelm me with harvest all at once and I'll be able to pick more each week.


  1. I love that shelving unit! I might have to try something like that. My hubs and I started our plants indoors last year, and they did very well inside. However when we moved them outside, they pretty much didn't make it. :(

  2. Kimberly,
    Did you plant them right away outside or did you give them time to adjust to full sun? I take them outside and place in shade in containers for few days before I transplant but make sure to bring them inside for the night so they have time to adjust to full sunlight. Also have to make sure they're really soaked after transplant so they don't go into "shock'. Good luck this year and hope to "see" you on my blog again.

  3. Hi there! Love your very helpful blog! I am new to gardening and enjoy your blog so much! I too started several plants indoors last year. Most of them were "stringy" or died on me when I transplanted them. The only ones I had any success with are the ones we bought at our local produce market or sowed directly in the soil from seeds. Any advice would be appreciated :)

  4. your plants will get stringy if they don't have enough sunshine - they tend to "stretch" to the light source. So if you have a table lamp with flurocent bulb you can place it about 6-8" from the top of the seedling pots it would definitely help. They need light for about 12-14 hrs a day to grow healthy. And like I told Kim, before you transplant them, take them outside and keep in a shaded area for few days to a week so tehy adjust to the proper light. That way they "harden" and won't die off. Also make sure they're thoroughly soaked right after transplanting. Water helps remove transplant shock. if you can avoid disturbing roots in anyway it also helps.