Growing from Seed
It has always amazed me how much of a return you can get from one lone seed. One seed will generate a whole plant bearing more fruits to feed you through part of the summer and fall as well as sustain you in the winter after preserving them.
I do not profess to be an expert in growing food from seed and I have had to repeatedly try for a better/higher production ratio every year as well as to learn from my mistakes - just like everyone else in the growing world.
Growing from seed is not for everyone. It takes time, space, patience, cost of set up ( lighting,shelving, trays- weather it`s inside your house or in a greenhouse- along the seeds themselves),and extra work. But with all that being said it is the one way to ensure the security and organic`ness` of your foods, as well as being most rewarding. Growing from seed gives a whole new meaning to the `farm to fork` concept...maybe ``seed to fork`` would be more accurate.
Every gardener eventually comes up with their own `recipe` or mix for their soil. We are on a acreage so I have gotten topsoil delivered but without any mixing it goes hard as a rock after watering making it very hard for seeds and seedlings to survive in.
As you can see in the picture above I use a few ingredients but it all starts with saving materials through the winter like used coffee grounds and teabags...make sure you dry both very well so you don`t end up with alot of molded material. I also save eggshells from the chickens we raise ourselves, and harvest worm castings (from my red-wriggler worm farm in the rubbermaid bins in the picture) along with the abundant supply of chicken manure . Of course the `livestock` is fed from our kitchen scraps, and we compost as well to cover the needs for the rest of the outdoor gardens. I also add vermiculite to help retain moisture and take up space between the soil. And I must say this produces a nutrient rich, light&soft to the touch, and a very nice smelling soil.Even when watering we try to use melted snow to start the seedlings with, and then once outside all they receive is rainwater since our well gives us softwater. We really enjoy this closed loop of sustainability we have created and find it quite easy to maintain.
One of the key elements I have learned is that different seeds need different environments. Hot peppers and tobacco for instance need warm humid conditions to grow in since they are native to warmer countries. Most seeds like the same environment to germinate in, but then usually enjoy a more temperate climate such as our comfy 20 celcius to grow in.
DON`T LET GROWING FROM SEED SCARE YOU OFF!