Cultivate Simple Podcast in iTunes Chiot's Run on Facebook Chiot's Run on Twitter Chiot's Run on Pinterest Chiot's Run on Flickr RSS Feed StumbleUpon

New Seed Starting Area with a View

April 17th, 2014

I finally have a dedicated seed starting area.  For my entire gardening career I’ve been starting seeds on the dining room table, which isn’t a big deal, until you want to eat dinner and there’s potting soil, seed flats and seeds all over the place.  There was a built in desk area upstairs that was not being used for anything but a plant stand and I decided it would be perfect.
new seed starting area 1
new seed starting area 4
There’s plenty of space, cupboards for storing seeds and supplies along with a long counter that can hold all manner of supplies. The best part is that it is bathed in nature light, it’s right in front of a nice window that looks out over the hill beyond. I can watch the chickens as they scratch around on the lawn below.
new seed starting area 2
new seed starting area 3
The flats are also in plain sight every time I go up and down the stairs making it very easy to monitor their progress. It’s the perfect spot!

Do you have a dedicated seed starting area?

Soil Temperature – It Matters!

April 16th, 2014

In the spring, many of us are excited to get planting and we see the phrase “as soon as soil can be worked” on our seed packet and plant things a little too early. Even though the soil can be worked, it’s cold, this causes delayed germination and in some cases seeds will rot in the ground before sprouting. It pays to wait an extra week before planting things like beets and peas.  Beets in particular seem to be very picky about soil temperature.
planting peas 2
Lettuce can be sown early, it will take longer to germinate than it does in slightly warmer temps, but the germination rates aren’t as drastically reduced as they are for other types of seeds since they’re so close to the surface. In most cases waiting a week won’t put you any farther behind as far as harvest scheduled go, since the seeds often take longer to germinate they end up coming up at the same time anyways, you just have less risk of seed damage or birds eating the seeds if you wait.
arugula seedlings
In my 5×5 Challenge Garden out front the arugula seeds have started to germinate. None of the lettuces have yet. It’s been a week since I sowed the seeds, the ones I planted in a seed flat indoors germinated in 2-3 days. This shows you how soil temperature affects seed germination.

Have you noticed differing germination rates of some things in the spring when the soil is cold? 

Seed Starting 101 eBook is HERE!

April 2nd, 2013

After much work, it’s nice to announce that the Seed Starting 101 eBook is finally finished. After much debate about putting it out as a regular e-book for a few dollars on Amazon or somewhere else, I decided to offer it as a downloadable PDF for free. A big thanks to those of you who have donated to support our efforts.
seed starting 101 cover image
Inside the book, there are 20 pages filled with photos and information. I also included my chart on the shelf life of seeds.
free eBook pages
If you have any questions or find any mistakes, please let me know. With this format I can easily add things to the book if needed. Hopefully this is early enough for most of you. Feel free to pin this book and share it with others. I’m hoping more and more gardeners will find joy in nurturing their own garden plants from seed.

Have you already started seeds for the 2013 gardening season?

Download the Seed Starting 101 e-book PDF (12.2 MB)

Seeing Green

March 6th, 2013

Even though the snow still blankets the garden outside, I’m starting to see a little green in the house. Over the past week, I’ve been starting onions, celery, lettuce and herbs. I’m already seeing the fruits of my labor, I’m noticing more and more green every time I check on the seeds.
seeing green 2
One think you will notice is that the fresher the seed the quicker it germinates. That’s one reason to use up your seed and pay attention to the self life of the seeds you have. Here’a a handy chart if you need one.
seeing green 3
Along with the onion seeds in flats, I started lettuce in some large planters. It’s germinating nicely and should be producing a few salads for our plats in a few weeks.
seeing green 1
The cats are also enjoying some greens, every week I plant them a new container of wheat grass. Soon enough, the chickens and ducks will be enjoying the same thing. I’m in the process of starting large flats of wheat for them.

Do you have any green sprouts in your house yet?

The Early Bird…

March 2nd, 2013

On Tuesday of this week, my eyes popped open at 4 am. After laying in bed for 15 minutes or so, I knew sleep was a lost cause for that morning.
seeding celery 1
Cup of coffee in hand, I started sorting through my seeds to get things going. I put off starting my January seeds because of our trip to Colombia, which means I’m a bit behind.
seeding celery 2
What did I start? Two different kinds of celery (Tendercrisp and Tall Utah) and 4 flats of various onions, including: Copra, Ailsa Craig, Brown Australian, Stuttgarter and a few more.
seeding celery 3
Waking up early isn’t a rare occasion, I’m a bit of an insomniac at times. Thankfully, I’m used to it so I’m able to accomplish a lot even with little sleep. Soon enough, we’ll be getting up at 5 am every day to make sure we get all of our work finished.

Do you ever wake up really early? What do you usually do?

Reading & Watching

Shop through these links and I get a few cents each time. It's not much, but it allows me to buy a new cookbook or new gardening book every couple months. I appreciate your support!


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.