Seed Starting - Get Your Garden Going Regardless of the Weather


By Nancy Smorch

I don’t know about you, but I am getting pretty anxious about getting my garden started! My garlic popped up a while ago, the flowers are just starting to blossom on the fruit trees, and everything is getting so green here in West Michigan.

Usually I buy quite a few vegetables already started for the garden from Cinzori’s Organic Farm (in Marshall, Michigan) as well as various vendors at the Holland and Grand Rapids farmers markets. But, I don’t think I’m quite ready to buy the plants for the garden.

Actually, I am totally ready! It’s the weather that isn’t!

We’ve had some beautiful sunny 70 degree days, but today, as I write, it’s a cold, drizzly, 54 degrees! And tomorrow night it’s supposed to be 35 - yuck!

So, if you are ready to get going on your garden as well, but the weather isn’t cooperating, start some seeds inside.

We go through a TON of eggs at our house. We eat them and we give some to our dogs, so we go through a lot of egg cartons. Normally I take them back to the health food store to recycle them, but this last week I thought I would keep them and use them to start some seeds.

I just received my packet of seeds I ordered from Baker Creek Heirloom Seeds. Once again, I got a little carried away with how many seeds I ordered, but I thought I would start out with some lettuce. The harvest time for lettuce can be relatively short (50-60 days), and I thought it would be a quick, easy thing to start with. Plus, I usually don’t buy many lettuce plants at the markets.

The cool thing about using these egg cartons is that you can write right on the carton what you plant. In the past I have used pre- made seed starting kits. These are great, but they are more expensive and they never provide for a good labeling system.  The egg cartons are perfect because you can plant the seeds in one half, and label which seeds they are in the other half. It’s already attached, so you won't lose it. And the egg carton is flexible enough that it is easy to work with. Ah, how I love the small things!

One thing you may want to keep in mind if you are starting seeds inside is that you may want to put some sort of a tray underneath the egg cartons. I use the lid to an old tupperware storage bin. This way, when watering, if the water goes through (which it may, especially in a cardboard egg carton), it won’t get your counter or floor wet.

Despite the dreary weather these next few days, I remain very optimistic about the Spring - especially thanks to starting my seeds inside. I can see the light - it’s not too far off!!

What kind of interesting and different ways do you start your seeds? And any cool ideas for container gardening?