Wednesday, March 2, 2011

Transplanting Seed Starts: 10 Reasons It's A Powerful Experience

1--Working with friends on the 2011 food supply.
Jessi, Bruce, and I transplanted seedlings last weekend. See the plants in their tiny cells, ready to move up to larger pots? We used a fork to gently lift them (from under their roots) and tuck them into their new homes, in threes. Just two weeks ago Bruce started the seeds under lights.

2--Viewing the energy in a seed.
Look at those vigorous roots: the extraordinary power of seeds on display. Nice job, Bruce, helping the seed fulfill its destiny in 13 days.

3--Because these fetal kale will look like this just weeks from now, ready to be hardened off, face the spring chill they love, and get planted in SIPs on our roof.

4--Plant diversity. 
We're growing some exciting new-to-us varieties this year, including Jester and Joker lettuces from Wild Garden Seed, Garland Serrated Chrysanthemum Greens (aka Shungiku) from Hudson Valley Seed, and vitamin greens from Bountiful Gardens. You'd never find these plant starts at a store in Chicago--I'm not sure anyone even sells starts for cool-weather greens.

5--Even if you have no tillable soil, transplants thrive in SIPs.
It's a beautiful thing if you have an in-ground garden that gets enough light to grow food. Most of the cool-weather seeds we're starting would come up on their own eventually in such a garden. But if you've got no well-lighted soil to dig, dig this: SIPs + cool-weather greens=massive amounts of vitamins in early spring, when lettuces, collards, and kale grow best.

6--Anticipation keeps hands moving. 
As usual, Bruce planted a couple seeds for every one we requested, resulting in lots of extras, meaning Jessi will have more varieties to try in her patch of the Hermitage Triangle Community Garden just across the street. Everything in the photo below was grown in a SIP.

 7--Checking on the chicks. 
Talk about a growth spurt. Click to enlarge, and note Bruce added a tree-branch perch at the back of their brooder.

8--People bring food to share.
Nice thing about people who grow food: they always seem to have something to share. Jessi's banana bread, my spring pea soup, and unshown, Bruce's pot of dal.

9--Loving the locals.
Good dog Carl! (Is he getting big or what?)

10--Comparing methods.
We promised to update you on the progress of the seeds planted using the winter seed-sowing method, discussed in this post. 13 days ago, on Feb 13, Bruce planted the seeds we just transplanted. I winter-sowed some hardy cool-weather varieties in my punctured spinach boxes on the same date and was excited to see the first sprouted seeds--arugula--on Feb 25. 

So, not far behind but for our purposes--planting out in SIPs--we need the accelerated indoor growth  to Get Those Greens onto our plates sooner. But I'll be harvesting these babies too. 
 What are you growing?


Nick said...

Thanks for the great post and wonderful site. I've been trying check in on it on a regular basis. I'm just a small home gardener wannabe.

I just started some pepper and tomato seeds along with a couple of broccoli and swiss chard under some lights on the 28th. Here's hoping for good success. My goal is to move over to veganic gardening, are you familiar with any veganic growing?

Good luck this year - I'm envious of your roof!

In Health,

-- Nick

H2 said...

Thanks, Nick--all good things to your seedlings.

I had to look up vegan growing and, wow, it underscores again how taking control of your food supply (even a little) can really help you control what you're eating.

Maybe you could supply a link for others who might be interested in reading more about animal-free fertilizers for organic crops.

Nick said...

Most definitely. Even though I've been on a vegan, plant-based whole foods diet, I'm just now getting into gardening and would love to make my food grown from veganic sources.

I love how you are all about taking control of your food source - it's such a wonderful thing. Only if we all had the resources to take control of our power sources as well (we do but funds don't always allow for it.)

Anyway, some links that I've come across are:
(the above link has some nice information, I'm still trying to sort through it.)
(A Yahoo Group for Veganic Growing)
(looks like a very nice resource as well.)
(A nice explanation of veganic growing.)

Hope this is of some use.

In Health,

-- Nick

H2 said...

Illuminating. Thanks, Nick.

Debbie said...

Heidi, Wonderful post. Sorry I missed planting the seedlings last week. I'm looking forward to transplanting the warm season seedling though.

Bruce, the chick are really growing fast, their feathers are turning brown and they are losing their baby fuzz. Kara and I need to visit soon, she's excited to see them.

Hi Carl and Jessi!