Monday, March 1, 2010


Never heard that word?

That would be because I made it up. It means "fear of seed starting," and I spent 20 years as a gardener in its throes.

It seems so complex--grow lights and trays and shelves. Staggered timing, potting soil, coir, soilless mix, seed starting mix. Fungus and sterilizing. Finding room. Hardening off. Damping off (one's good; one's bad). A whole new vocabulary.

But after spending a year reading about starting seeds indoors on MyFolia, I tested the waters last year with some wintersowing, and then this year jumped in with both feet, doing indoor starts on several herbs, onions, leeks, a couple of ornamentals, Brussels sprouts, parsnips and of course tomatoes. I'll wintersow (outdoor early seed starting in mini-greenhouses made from milk jugs) my vining vegetables and brassicas (greens and broccoli).

The thing about early seed starting is the green. It's hard for a non-gardener to understand the yearning for the dirt, and the need to see those shoots come out of the earth. So starting seeds allows you to get your fingers in the dirt, and to somehow feel like you've created this plants yourself, in a way that even direct sowing doesn't. Nursery starts, or what I've called "outsourcing" your seed starting, never give you the same feeling of ownership.

But these tiny sprouts are mine.

So no recipe today. Just my tiny sprouts. Because I made them.


  1. I'm right there with you, even though I haven't started seeds yet, there is just something about those green little guys that lift your spirits and make you feel like you've done something important in the world.

  2. Starting seeds is so great. I jumped in head first when I decided to grow veggies and I can't imagine not spending my spring with potting soil and seeds. It gives me something to do with my time during these cold winter months.

    Welcome to the Food Challenge - can't wait to hear how it goes for you!

  3. I'm feeling a little head first this year, if not actually OVER my head. I'm more of a toe-dipper myself. But I've got onion sprouts today, so wheeee!