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Cultivate Simple 16: Ready, Set, Grow

January 28th, 2013

An honest and unrehearsed discussion about trying to live a more simple life. This is episode 16 and today we are discussing starting seeds.
new seedlings

Quotes of the Week

Funny phrases heard around the house this week:

“I actually have worm cocoons in my fridge right now”
“I kind of excited to try the Water Buffalo Liver”

16 Things to Stop Doing in 2013

Support the blog and the podcast. Vote with your dollars. Value for value. This takes time.
Donate – When downloading an ebook, for an episode that you like, if you want to get a mention on the show ($50).
Subscribe – We recommend $5/month or $50/year

Freezing – A quick way to store veggies at the height of their freshness. Cons – energy used, pros, tastes great and easy. I always store in glass, no plastic bags here. Start investing in glass containers. My favorite containers are wide mouth pint jars or these Pyrex Rectangular Clear-Glass Food-Storage Containers

Seed Starting

seed starting

Why do I start my own seeds as opposed to buying them?
Seed Starting 101 Series on Chiot’s Run

Books of the Week:

Have you ever tried to start seeds? What has been your experience?

21 Comments to “Cultivate Simple 16: Ready, Set, Grow”
  1. Maybelline on January 28, 2013 at 9:09 am

    I sow seeds in place except for tomatoes.

    Reply to Maybelline's comment

  2. Natalie on January 28, 2013 at 1:05 pm

    I tried to start seeds last season. I failed! I know what I did wrong and will be trying new tactics this year.

    Reply to Natalie's comment

  3. DebbieB on January 28, 2013 at 5:46 pm

    I think I mentioned before in comments that the only gardening I’ve done is in containers, and that failed miserably – the heat was trapped in the containers and my poor little plants cooked to death. I’m looking forward to the 5×5 Project and the adventure of planting IN THE GROUND. :)

    I took advantage of the link you posted to donate via monthly subscription. I was pleased to hear that your eBooks will be offered as “value for value”, free of charge, making them accessible to everyone regardless of their ability to pay. That alone would have moved me to donate, because I appreciate your willingness to share information and help people with developing their own simplicity in life. In addition, I appreciate the amount of research and time that goes into the blog articles and podcasts. I hope my little drop in the bucket is joined by others to help defray the costs (in time, $$$, and energy) of gathering and sharing this valuable information.

    I’m in Zone 9A – I don’t think we had a frost at all this winter, and the likelihood of having one seems remote. I’m thinking it’s probably time for me to get some seeds started!

    Reply to DebbieB's comment

  4. Misti on January 28, 2013 at 9:48 pm

    Somewhere in the first quarter of the program you mentioned I *think* peat moss….I thought about it later on after I had listened and wondered if I’d heard wrong….I hope, hope, hope you don’t actually use it anymore.

    We’ve recently bought some commercial seed starting mix and have read further to find out it had peat moss in it. We’ll be finding an alternative once we run out of that bag.

    Reply to Misti's comment

    • Susy on January 28, 2013 at 11:13 pm

      There are things you can use instead of peat moss, and leaf mold is a great alternative. I only buy peat moss when there is no other option for seed starting mix. Generally I prefer using leaf mold as I can make it myself and I much prefer keeping the circle closed when it comes to my garden.

      Reply to Susy's comment

  5. whit on January 29, 2013 at 1:08 am

    Hi guys,

    Wondering if you have an tips on plans for wooden seedling trays? Specifically, what type of wood is best for durability?


    Reply to whit's comment

  6. Melissa on January 29, 2013 at 11:48 am

    (So I’m keeping a comments window open as I listen so I can comment as I think of things! Random stream of consciousness comments here–)

    Love the new weekly quotes part! Can totally identify! I was chuckling to myself all weekend at how excited I was that we bought a livestock trailer to haul our pigs! 3 years ago I would have told you the thought of that was crazy! Oh how things change!

    I love seed starting season! So full of hope! I also love the challenge of getting a hard to germinate seed started! I like that your are talking about it- I think there is an unfair stigma to the thought of starting your own seeds. I get overwhelmed looks from new gardeners when I talk about starting your own seeds!

    I began getting better results with seed starting once I began mixing my own starter mix. I use a variation of Eliot Coleman’s mix- no bloodmeal here- the dogs get into my seeds if I do! And it’s hard enough to keep them out! Love the hot water tip, gonna try that this week! I’m a big fan of the soil blocks for a lot of seeds. I’m not using them this year for some of my veggies- they just grow so fast that I’m transplanting to a larger container within weeks- so just starting in the larger container this year to simplify! But for small seeds, such as herbs and flowers they work great! My mix is about a 1:1 ratio of peat moss and compost and about half that of sand. Sometimes I’ll add various rock minerals depending on what seed I’m starting. The first leaves are called cotyledons by the way.

    Growlights- Wanted to add something about this b/c i get lots of questions from people who think they have to have fancy expensive growlights. The cool white lights you can buy at your local hardware store work just fine. I read about this in my master gardener book and please to know that the cheapo shop lights that I’d been using for two years were perfect! You only need the fancy full spectrum ones if you are growing full fledged plants under them.

    What’s your opinion on shelf life of the fish emulsion or kelp liquids? Do you think they can hold for a while if you buy a large container? I’ve wondered about that.

    Reply to Melissa's comment

    • Susy on January 29, 2013 at 11:56 am

      I will keep my fish emulsion or liquid kelp for two years. When I buy the five gallon bucket it typically lasts me 2 gardening season. I store it in a cool, dark place (the basement). I mix it up fresh each time I use it, and almost always mix it half strength.

      Reply to Susy's comment

  7. Elizabeth on January 29, 2013 at 2:23 pm

    You mentioned that putting seeds in the freezer prolongs the seed life. Doesn’t that destroy the seed?? Otherwise, wouldn’t all seeds dropped onto the soil survive the winter freezes and snows?

    Reply to Elizabeth's comment

    • Susy on January 29, 2013 at 3:03 pm

      You have to make sure the seeds are dry enough to be frozen, many seeds to survive winter freezes to come up once again in the spring. Carol Deppe explains this very well in her book. She gives detailed instructions on drying seeds further for freezing to obtain longer shelf life.

      Reply to Susy's comment

      • Elizabeth on January 30, 2013 at 12:06 am

        Thank you.

        to Elizabeth's comment

    • KimH on January 29, 2013 at 10:30 pm

      I planted one type of cherry tomato (Gardeners Delight) in my front yard bed 3 years ago & I’ve never had to plant any there again.. I have hundreds of seeds self start in that bed in the spring. They’re even showing up in my neighbors flower beds now. from rain-off. opps! ;)

      Reply to KimH's comment

  8. Melanie in Ca on January 29, 2013 at 5:37 pm

    I heard that Brian!


    Reply to Melanie in Ca's comment

    • Mr. Chiots on January 30, 2013 at 1:59 pm

      I hoped you would!!!

      Reply to Mr. Chiots's comment

  9. Megan on January 29, 2013 at 6:36 pm

    Love the quote section. My favorite quote from my house came from my 6 year old as I was heading out to AI one of my cows. “mom, be careful, don’t get your hand stuck up there!”
    Can’t wait to start some seeds. Going to try some onions this year.

    Reply to Megan's comment

  10. Mich on January 30, 2013 at 8:48 am

    I use seeds to grow nearly all the veg & cut flowers here. The only exceptions that do get bought are Dahlis tubers, tulips and I use seed potatoes.
    I’m so glad you’ve carried on with the podcasts, so enjoyable & I love listening to you guys with your banter & accents… tho some comments are bit lost on me being a Brit!

    Reply to Mich's comment

  11. Wendy on January 31, 2013 at 12:50 am

    Where do you get your worm cocoons from?

    Reply to Wendy's comment

    • Wendy on January 31, 2013 at 12:52 am

      Oh, and yes, I start seeds every year, even though most of them fail miserably. But, I picked up some great tips from this week’s podcast, and I’ve got my number one handyman working on a solution for my light problems :)

      Reply to Wendy's comment

  12. daisy on January 31, 2013 at 11:11 pm

    Wow! So much information. I just finished listening to the podcast and I need to go to bed to recover!

    Same thing happened with our supposedly “better end” dishwasher. I’d just as soon do dishes by hand.

    Looking forward to learning along with everyone else.

    Reply to daisy's comment

  13. amy on February 1, 2013 at 5:00 pm

    Just now was able to listen to the podcast….You two are dear…..The champagne toast was precious…..I will be married to my husband 15 years in July…..It has been a wondrous and wild ride….and one I would not trade for all the money in the world:)

    We had a dishwasher many years ago and after replacing the heating element or some such the third time….We chucked it and never looked back……It went the way of the microwave….and such…..I do not miss any of them…..again congratulations…..on the finalization of your Ohio home. Blessings.

    Reply to amy's comment

  14. How to Winter Sow Wildflowers on October 6, 2018 at 11:06 pm

    […] peat moss and vermiculite and one part worm castings. This is a recipe I picked up from one of my favorite garden blogs. You have to listen to the podcast to get the full recipe, but it’s basically […]

    Reply to How to Winter Sow Wildflowers's comment


This is a daily journal of my efforts to cultivate a more simple life, through local eating, gardening and so many other things. We used to live in a small suburban neighborhood Ohio but moved to 153 acres in Liberty, Maine in 2012.

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