Spring Seed Starter Mix DIY
I grew up with the light of grow lights seeping out around our basement door every spring. My father took such pleasure in going through the seed catalogs, ordering his seeds, and getting a jumpstart in the basement with his seed starter setup.
Anyone can start seeds early under grow lights or outdoors in cold frames, no matter how far north. My father also used outdoor cold frames, and would make them using old windows positioned over a simple rectangular frame that was higher on one side so that the window cold slant towards the sun.
Once you have the seeds and light source, how to start seeds?
Seed Starting Mix
Note that you want seed starter and not potting soil. Potting soil can cake, making it hard for new seedling shoots to break through. Simple peat moss without any added nutrients will do. When the seedlings have sprouted, transplant.
Here is a soil-less seedling mix adapted from Four-Season Harvest, by Eliot Coleman.
Three 8-quart buckets each peat moss and compost
2 cups organic fertilizer
one 8-quart bucket perlite
Combine in a big garbage can, and thoroughly blend.
Soak seeds for a few hours in warm water before planting.
Try to maintain the soil at a temperature of 70F
By Annie B. Bond, the best-selling and award-winning author of five healthy/green living books, including Better Basics for the Home (Three Rivers Press, 1999), Home Enlightenment, Clean & Green (1990), and most recently True Food (National Geographic, 2010 and winner of Gourmand Awards Best Health and Nutrition Cookbook in the World). She has authored literally thousands of articles and was named “the foremost expert on green living” by Body & Soul magazine (2009).