Starting Seeds in my Basement
A few days ago, I decided it was time to start my seeds. With everything going on this year, it seemed prudent to try to grow some food. Hopefully by the time these are ready to harvest, the current troubles will be but a memory. However, you never can tell, so better to try to be prepared. This year presented a few challenges. We're trying not to go out out of the house unless absolutely necessary, so I have to make do with what I have.
For one thing, I didn't have any kind of starter containers. Typically I would buy a bunch of decomposable containers that you then just plant directly into the ground with the seedling in it. These have fertilizer in them, which feeds the seedling during its crucial first few days in the ground. This also prevents you having to de-pot the seedling, which can lead to the roots being exposed or damaged. You can certainly start seeds without these, but I've had better success using them than not. So, for this year, I just grabbed whatever containers I could find. Small flower pots, clear plastic cups, square plastic seedling containers from last year, used k-cups, whatever I could find.
The 2nd problem was seeds. I typically just buy seeds at the hardware store. I only buy a couple of packets each year, so ordering from a catalog seems like overkill. But the good news is that I always get too excited and buy more seeds than I need, so I have extras from previous years. Whether or not they are still viable remains to be seen. I also have a bunch of kale seeds from @vgholdingsllc
Problem #3: growing medium. Usually I buy a bag of soil mix. Potting soil, planting soil, seed starter soil, whatever is on sale. If it's not light enough, I add sand and perilite. But I was fresh out of everything this year, so I raided the bottom of one of my compost piles. I would have liked to have some sand to mix in, because it's more dense than I would like, but I don't have it, so I make the best of it. For 3 days I dried it in the sun, stirring and fluffing and stirring and fluffing. In the end, the texture was acceptable.
So I planted. 4 days in and this is what I've got. Kale, chard and brussel sprouts have all popped. Thyme and peppers are still buried. Overall, I'm thrilled with the progress so far.