I am officially over winter but, no where close to being ready for summer. Let's just stay spring all year long, ok? OK!
I got my big packet of seeds from Henry Fields really quick - and now I cannot wait to get those babies started... but I can't just yet.
A couple of key pieces of info are important for deciding when to set out plants. First, I need to know approximately when I want to set out my plants... aka, when can I actually dig the holes in the garden to plant the plants. A quick look at the 2011 Farmer's Almanac predicts the last frost for my area around April 1st - so I have to plant after that.
I know from planting a garden for the past couple of years that planting around Easter seems to work best for me - its still cool enough that my lettuce doesn't wilt in the summer heat but also warm enough that the tomatoes start going and I'll have some great fruit by early summer. Easter is April 24 this year so somewhere in between April 1 and April 24 will be best. A good hard and fast rule for planting is that you want the ground temperature to stay consistently over 50 degrees - even overnight.
Most of the seeds I ordered suggest starting them indoors 6 to 8 weeks before planting. Starting them indoors where its warmer and they still get sun or artificially get light through grow lights (yes, think Weeds season 4) is ideal. Working backwards from April 16th, my targeted plant date, I determined that I would start seedlings on February 19th.
So between now and Feb. 19th I really need to get on prepping the new homes that the seedlings will be growing in until they are ready to go live in the garden. I've used seed pods and seedling trays before but, this year, since I am cheap and also plan on growing A LOT of seedlings to give away and really have a prolific garden - again because I am cheap - I needed this to be a DIY project. There are several great options out there including recyling toilet paper or paper towel rolls cut in half but I am going with the newspaper option.
WHY you ask? While the toilet paper roll option would be much quicker and less work, I just don't think there is anyway I can save up oh about 100 tubes in the next month. We just don't go that much. sorry.
The DIY seed pots made of newspaper seem to be really easy - basically you take a strip of newspaper (black ink only) and make a little "cup" - using a flour and water paste to seal the deal. This seed pot can be planted right in your garden or easily peeled off when planting.
Eric and I are going to have a little seedling pot making party soon - we need to churn out about 100 of these babies over the next month. I'll be sure to let you know if I plan on ever doing this project again afterward. Has anyone else done this?
*photos from Farmers Almanac, Re-Nest and Chicago Tribune - links in text