A couple of weeks ago I bought the things I needed to start seeds. I had heat mats and a light from ten years ago when I last tried to start seeds. In 2003, I got busy at work and didn’t give the seedlings the attention they needed to thrive. They all died.
One big problem was temperature. Back then, I thought the heat mats would suffice to keep the starter soil at the right temperature. I forgot that when the plants started to grow – well – I don’t know a veggie plant that thrives in 20 degree weather, wind or not.
My husband, Jim, continued to insist that “the barn would do.” And he went behind my back and started some broccoli to prove me wrong. Yes, it was just like the raised bed argument. Jim looks for the simplest way to get to goal. I have to read everything I can find and ask for expert advice.
Sure enough, when we went out to the barn this morning, he had tiny shoots poking up through dry seed starter mix. He’d also forgotten to soak the mix in water before sowing his seeds. I pulled out my new soil thermometer and tried to show him two things. One, the seed packet said that the ideal soil temperature for broccoli is 80 degrees. Two, the temperature of his soil was maybe 59 degrees.
And so we looked at each other for a while. I went into the garage, which is heated, and started clearing a place on one of our shelves. Jim came in behind me with the plant light, the drill, the level, some brackets – in fact all the things he’d need to set me up.
So we’re almost ready to sow more seeds and his little broccoli shoots have really shot up in just the few hours since this morning.
Special thanks to my Master Gardener friend, Lenora Larson, for the “when to plant” chart. Yes, I was trying to reinvent the wheel using average first and last frost dates and seed packet information. Lenora’s chart is so easy…