My eldest son (aka Big A), is participating in the ACT Carbon Challenge along with others at his school. And he is totally into the program. So on the weekend we propagated some seeds so that he could earn 0.44kg worth of emissions saved for the Feeling Seedy challenge.
Since it is late winter, there are a few challenges to starting a vegie patch. You can’t just stick zucchini seeds in the ground when are still experiencing frosts, for example, and expect them to grow. And you certainly can’t put in frost intolerant seedlings such as tomatoes and expect them to survive.
But you can start. And we started by propagating some plants on our sunny windowsill.
I like growing on the windowsill because, with inside he house being warmer than outside, the seeds propagate relatively quickly. And being just above the kitchen sink, I am more likely to remember to water them than if they were outside.
We planted a small tub of tomato seeds in a mini greenhouse made from a recycled strawberry container. With its clear plastic lid, it is an ideal size and shape for a mini greenhouse. The container had holes is the bottom, so I placed some old pantyhouse to stop the soil from falling through. I then filled the container up with seed raising mix,and then topped with the tomato seeds.
These tomato seeds are a bit of an experiment as they are saved seeds. I ate some really lovely grape tomatoes last summer, and I saved some by smearing them on a paper towel, allowing it to dry then saving it. On the weekend I tore a square piece off and Big A and I placed it on top off the seed raising mix in the mini greenhouse. The seeds are spaced relatively evenly (ish) – not quite as regular as seed raising mix, but less than if I just sprinkled some seeds on top. I can’t wait to see how long they take to sprout and what the end result will be like.
Then we had fun with egg cartons.
Egg cartons make the best packaging for raising seeds. They are biodegradable, so you can plant your little seedling into the group in its unique egg carton piece and it will continue to grow. So no need to disturb the root system.
“Can we please grow carrots,” Big A begged me. “And broccoli, and spinach.” Wow, who would have thought! Little A was also excited to choose some seeds (I am a bit of a seed junkie, and have collected way too many so plenty to choose from.)
So we filled up the egg cartons with seed raising mix, watered it in gently, poked a whole in the seed mix with a chopstick to make an indentation (be careful with this step – I have been known to go to hard and end up with a hole the whole way through). Big A then dropped a seed into each and every egg carton module.
It will have a long time until the vegetables are ready to be planted out (much less harvested), but so far it has been so rewarding to educate a bit about where food comes from. And we had fun together.