This entry may be a bit long, but I wanted to show what's been happening so far this year.

Since I decided I wanted to start most of my own plants from seed this year, I asked for a little seed starting kit to get me started, and my husband bought me this for Christmas from Park Seed:

Seed starting kit

I put some seeds in the little peat starter pods on February 18, and by February 21, some had already started to sprout. sprouted tomato

It was fun watching them grow, but I wasn't entirely satisfied with how my little light kit was working. The tray is wider than the light fixture, and the seedlings that were on the edges starting becoming leggy, bending towards the center to find the stronger light. Since I was only using one-third of the pod trays, I was able to turn it so that it was parallel to the fixture, so all the seedlings on the ends were under more direct light. That's when I decided that it wasn't going to work well when I started the majority of my seeds for the summer plants. My seedlings were growing quickly, and I knew it wouldn't be long before I needed to get all the rest of my seeds started. They needed better lighting, and I needed more room for more seeds. These are my seedlings on March 3rd:

seedlings

After looking around the net to see what other people had done, we constructed a lighting shelf based on one that was simple and quick to construct. Our cat was quite interested in it when we brought it in the house.

cat climbing in the light shelf


Today

All of the above brings us to today. Most of my first set of seedlings are outgrowing their pods, and I wanted to get them transplanted into some small pots. After they've had a couple of days to adjust to their new pots, I'm going to start hardening them off. I'd like to get them into the garden beds in the next week or two. I was going to try a little earlier, especially with the very mild winter we've had in southeast Virginia this year, but mid-March is earlier than I've ever started a garden, so I'm still pleased with how things are going. Here are my seedlings and light shelf from this afternoon:

light shelf

Most of these were in pots by the end of the day. These seedlings are about three weeks old.

3 week old seedlings

These little pods were all seeded on March 5, and I saw a couple of baby plants just starting to poke through this evening. I have 68 pods seeded in the white tray, but they won't all make it to the garden. If they all do well, I hope I can find them homes with family or neighbors. As long as I get one good, healthy plant from each variety I'm starting, I'll be happy.

light shelf