by Toni Leland
This year, for the first time, I was organized enough to get my vegetable and flower seeds early enough to actually start them indoors! I found a great little portable greenhouse that didn't take up too much space, and set it up near a south-facing window. I'd never tried starting seeds as early as the nurseries, but with a lovely large selection of organic and heirloom seed packets from Renee's Garden, I wanted to give this a go.
Why would I suddenly decide to change the way I garden? Well, for one thing, I had the privilege of reviewing Renee's Garden Cookbook, and the recipes made me want to try all sorts of new varieties.
Also, recent news about pesticides used on nursery plants made me very nervous about buying ready-to-plant stock. I love my butterflies and bees, the pollinators that frequent my gardens. I didn't want to worry about neonicotinoids and other chemicals hurting these creatures. So, buying guaranteed organic seeds seemed a good answer.
Most of all, I love seeing things come up in the spring and, with this past winter's brutal pounding, I needed something to give me hope that spring would really come! A personal indoor greenhouse was just the ticket.
I did make one mistake, however. I started much too early for our Connecticut Zone 6. I planted all the seeds on March 21, never dreaming they would sprout in just a few days! That's certainly a great endorsement for Renee's seeds! Fresh and fertile, and every seed sprouted!
Anyway, soon the seedlings were growing like crazy and I had no way to plant them until the end of April. As they grew larger, I moved them to bigger containers (yes, those are yogurt pots), continuing to rotate the pots every day to give them equal light. Still, many of the seedlings were hard to transplant because of their legginess. The tomatoes, zucchini, and butternut squash were fine; some of the flowers will bear watching.
This was a fun experiment, but I think next year I'll wait until early April to start the seeds!