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  • Julia Featheringill

Adventures in Seed Sprouting!

This is the second year I have sprouted seeds indoors. It is truly the most magnificent way to beat the winter blues and look forward to spring!

Here is the very first sprout coming out of the soil this year. It’s a “Guy” tomato (a variety grown by long time Growing Center volunteer, Guy Amara, until he passed away. Keeping his legacy alive!)

A seedling emerging from soil in a seed tray.

Many of the seeds I started were saved from last year’s harvest. It is super gratifying and free!!! Learn more about saving your own seeds with this guide.

Here is where I am today. I have been using a grow light indoors set on a timer that runs from 6am-9pm. It is also in front of a window for a little extra light.

A seed tray full of seedlings under a plant light.

From left to right I have cucamelon (was just introduced to this magical fruit, also known as Mexican Sour Gerkin, last year so thought I’d try to save seeds to grow some, nothing so far), Guy tomatoes, Sun Gold tomatoes, Black Cherry tomatoes, okra (nothing so far), husk cherries, fennel, anise hyssop, Red Russian kale, and holy basil. I tried husk cherries last year and nothing came up in the tray. I brought the tray to the Growing Center to drop off some other sprouts and left the tray there outside. A month or so later the tray had tiny husk cherry plants each with one single fruit. This time they are coming up in the tray. Go figure.

I am at the stage where I will be taking the tray outside on nice days for a couple of hours so that the seedlings can start to acclimate to being outside. Definitely making sure to put up netting though because the birds will destroy these tiny plants (not sure why, nest building maybe?)

A tray of seedlings set outside to harden off.

Check out this handy guide for what to start indoors and when!

Looking at it myself, I think I probably started things later than needed and also cucumbers and okra should be started outside (maybe why nothing is coming up in those slots!)

And if you want to learn some more, maybe check out this webinar series on growing vegetables in containers, raised beds, and in-ground beds, offered by the Penn State Extension Service. (Register by April 13th, starts on April 14th, currently full, but they are working on extending capacity, so get on the waiting list if desired.)

Cheers to another successful growing season!!!

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