Is Cheap Seed Hurting Your Garden? Germination Rate, Vigor, and Why You Should Care

Seed Germination

Sometimes, cheap seeds just cost too much. I’m going to explain why in a second, but first I want you to imagine for a minute that you are pulling up to a gas station to fuel your car. There are two pumps, and each will dispense different fuels. Pump A sells fuel that costs $7 [Continue Reading…]

Updated! Seeds For Beginners: Saving, Storing and Organizing Your Vegetable Seeds

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This post was originally published January 23, 2012. I’ve slightly updated my own seed storage method (below), and we’ve welcomed a ton of new gardeners to the fold in the last three years, so I thought it was time to revisit seed storage basics.   I am getting a lot of questions about seeds right [Continue Reading…]

10 Tips to Simplify Your Spring Planting

Simplify Spring Planting

It’s spring, the very beginning of the gardening year, so why do some folks feel like they are already behind? This is a crazy time of year for the gardener, I totally understand. Between seed starting, transplanting and soil prep, it’s easy to feel like you just can’t keep up. Here’s a few tips to keep it a [Continue Reading…]

What’s Growing Under The Seed Lights in February?

February Under Lights

I’ve been ramping up my indoor seed starting over the past several weeks. The first of my spring cole crops and my peppers and tomatoes are just getting to the true leaf stage. I thought you guys might want to see the veggie madness that has taken over my seed starting rack. My first round [Continue Reading…]

Seed Selection Made Very, Very Simple

Seed Selection Made Very Simple

Heather, a friend of mine and a fellow blogger over at Queen Bee Coupons, emailed me last week and said, I’m completely overwhelmed by the options in the seed catalogs. I just want you to tell me what to order. I want simple and I want a little bit of everything – a selection of [Continue Reading…]

How To Spot And Avoid A Crappy Seedling

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So, it’s the time of year out here in the Maritime Northwest where periodic nice days start to happen. A few legitimately sunny Spring days in Seattle send thoughts to the veggie patch, and gardeners everywhere start running to buy plant starts. This can become a caveat emptor situation pretty fast, because baby plants are, [Continue Reading…]

Which Seed Starting Supplies Are Worth It? And Which Aren’t?

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As a gardener, there is no end to what you could spend your money on. Take seed starting – what do you really need? Are those peat pellet kits really worth it? Can you start your seeds in yogurt tubs, or is that somehow not….correct? Here’s my opinionated opinion on what should get your money [Continue Reading…]

How To Pick Your Vegetable Seeds Without Going Crazy

How To Pick Vegetable Seeds

“Last year I just planted and prayed, stuff worked or didn’t. Now I have seed catalogs and am so overwhelmed I don’t know what to order. Should I be picking stuff based on the shortest growing rate and that’s all? This is crazy!” -Reader Question Feeling Seed Catalog Crazy? Right now, like most gardeners, you [Continue Reading…]

Your Seedlings Hate Your Fancy Window: How Plants See Light

Photosyntheticly Active Radiation

Two months ago, Erica posted comparison photos showing seedlings started in a south-facing window vs seedlings started under full-spectrum grow lights. The results were surprising to many readers (including me!) and at least a few readers invested in grow lights after seeing the difference light makes. There are a few reasons why windowsill started seedlings [Continue Reading…]

Seed-Starting Challenge, Urban Farm Magazine Giveaway & Blog Link-Up

Urban Farm Magazine

Annette, friend and co-author of the Urban Farm Handbook, has organized a 12-months-of-urban-farming challenge on her blog Sustainable Eats. Participants learn, do, share and can win great prizes for taking the challenge. Take The April Seed Starting Challenge The April challenge is all about gardening, and I’m challenging NW Edible readers, Urban Farm Challenge participants [Continue Reading…]

Potato Chitting Problems: Pale Shoots

Potato Chitting: White Stems (7)

When I placed my order for seed potatoes with Irish Eyes this year, they asked when I’d like my potatoes shipped. Based on my zip code, they recommended a date a few weeks hence. “Oh, no, just send them now,” I said, “I like to chit them before I plant them.” Ah, hubris. So my box of [Continue Reading…]

Seedlings Started Under Lights vs. On A Windowsill

Seedling Comparison

In early February I started some broccoli seeds the way I normally do, under a bank of full spectrum fluorescent light tubes. At the same time, using the same seeds, the same seed potting mix, and an identical pot (a 6-cell starter tray of 72-sized-cells), I started some broccoli seeds for a friend. She took her [Continue Reading…]