The first of the sprouts are awakening in the warm sunlight of the windowsill garden. A tray of herbs from Cole Canyon Farm http://www.colecanyonfarm.com/ will give me a tasty herb garden in a few months (i purchased the herb starts because oregano and thyme are difficult to start from seed.). All these little plants will find their way to the garden and will be loved by the gardeners of the beach flats.
Starting seeds is a simple task that will bring you almost immediate satisfaction and endless entertainment. I use a collection of seed trays and old pots to keep my starts organized. Large storage totes make great seed starting trays; if necessary poke a hole in the bottom to allow drainage. Fill your small pots with potting soil or seed starting mix and carefully place the seeds according tho the seed packet directions. Keep your seeds warm and moist (not hot, soggy, cold, or dry) for several days to several weeks, and your new friends will start to greet you when they are ready to face the sun. Broccoli, lettuce, and squash germinate quickly, while chilis, and gourds take longer. I bring my starts outside on warm days and keep them inside when it is cold, and during the night. Not all seeds need to be germinated inside; squash, broccoli and a few others will germinate fine outside in Santa Cruz and other warm regions. For the outside pots , i put a large plastic bin over them at night to keep off the icy fog and wind of the coastal nights. If you don’t have lots of small pots, plant many seeds in a larger pot, and transplant the best ones when they are ready. Thinning is an essential part of planting; by selecting only the strongest sprouts, you ensure a better crop, and an earlier harvest. I always start more seeds than I need because some always die, or are weak. I also plant extra because I like to share the plant starts with my fellow gardeners, these healthy happy sprouts always find homes in the warm soil of the beach flats. Sharing is the foundation on which our garden is built.