It is time to start seeds!
We have been hearing back from our subscribers on what we can do to make the “box” experience better. Well, you have spoken, and we have listened. The number one request was to let everyone know WHY we choose certain items for the box. So grab a coffee, and sit back for an in-depth look at why you are getting:
Foothills Organic’s Potting Soil
This potting soil is special to us. You can’t run down to the nearest big box store and get this stuff. This potting mix is crafted by people who believe in the art of composting. Now, we know that compost alone does not make a great seed mix, that is why we chose one that included natural amendments such as AZOMITE which is a volcanic ash based mineral that is OMRI certified. AZOMITE contains around 70 trace minerals for your soil. Perlite is also added for water retention. All in all this a great mix, and better yet it didn’t travel very far to arrive at our warehouse. See more info at: www.foothillsorganics.com
Baker Creek Heirloom Seeds
Baker Creek Heirloom Seeds is committed to preserving genetic treasures on a “larger and larger scale.” They boast close to 1850 varieties from 100 countries or tribes. You can almost bet that if you need a hard to find seed variety that your grandma used to grow, Baker Creek is the place to find it. We like to support small businesses, although with the amount of seed they handle it is hard to call Baker Creek “small”, but they retain the same feel of the company that started with just 70 varieties in 1998. In short, we believe in the spirit of Baker Creek. Their mission speaks to us. For more info check out: www.rareseeds.com
As for the varieties of seeds that we included, we used one simple logic: Grow what you will eat. Anything else is a waste (that sounds harsh). Of course experiment, but try to limit that in favor of putting the effort towards what you will want to harvest and use in the kitchen. We are in Zone 8, so we are on the brink of starting warm season crops like tomatoes, peppers, and eggplants. We included three types of tomatoes for different kitchen uses. Brandywines are excellent slicers (perfect sandwiches and burgers). Yellow Pear tomatoes are great salad tomatoes that grow on enormous bushes. You will definitely need cages for those beasts. To round off the tomatoes, we included the trusty Roma. This is a great paste variety that stores well in sauces. As far as the others go, we simply chose our top two peppers and top two egg plants. We hope that you will enjoy these as much as we have in past seasons.
Storey Basics: Starting Seeds Book
Videos and articles are nice, but sometimes you need a reference book, and this one is straight to the point. This book includes proven methods, enough pictures, and no fluff. We like to read, but if you are like us, planting season sneaks up on us faster than we realize, so save those long reading hours for later. Right now we just need the info that gets the job done. Read through it, then keep it close to the potting bench for quick reference.
Coconut Coir Strip Pots
There is nothing magical about these pots. From the perspective of sustainability, coconut coir makes good sense. It is a natural product that is already harvested due to the large global demand for coconut. When the nuts are husked, the fibrous outer material is collected and pressed into pots. Compare this to peat pots which have to be mined out of bogs. This takes a toll on ecosystems. Coir pots by contrast are pH neutral, hold more water, and allow for more air transfer to the soil. Hopefully you will find success with these pots.
Homestead Iron Large Garden Trowel
Just look at it! It is a work of art! These workhorses are produced in a one man blacksmith shop. When talking with the owner, Will, he said, “It’s one of those things that I can only make a certain number of per year. You either get one, or wait until next year.” So we went ahead and reserved you one. You’re welcome. His other tools are awesome as well. You can check those out here. We could go on and on about this simple tool but here is a video that will tell you a little about how Will works:
Dramm One Touch Wand and Fog-It Nozzle
It is hard to explain in words why we chose the Dramm wand. We could tell you about the professional grade pedigree and excellent fit and finish, but it really is something that you have to experience to understand. If you have ever purchased a watering wand from a big box store, you have probably been disappointed. They usually start leaking right after you get them, and the trigger mechanism (God forbid they use a button) feels flimsy and loose. Not so with Dramm. Everything is tight and positive. The big box wands hardly ever put water out in anything close to the pattern cut into the head. We don’t know how Dramm does it, but they get it right. Every tiny hole in the head puts out a gentle stream. What’s more, is that you can remove the Dramm head and thread on any standard water hose attachment, including the Fog-It fine nozzle. This little, all-brass beauty allows you to gently water young seedlings while doing virtually no damage. These have become indispensable in our greenhouse.
So there you have it.
That is our essential seed starting kit. This box included everything someone needs to get their Spring Garden off and running. Even if you have containers on a balcony or patio, this kit can be used to grow food wherever you are. Just remember to plant those seeds. Try your best to grow as much food as you can. Use that food as much as possible. Share it with friends and family, and until next time, keep working, keep learning, and keep in touch.
-Sam with The Homestead Box