Imagine being able to pick fresh lemons, limes and oranges right from your patio! Read more »
Cutting overgrown grasses by more than an inch or two at a time can create unhealthy brown and bald spots in your lawn – or ev... Read more »
Kids are eager gardeners. They love to experiment with colorful flowers, have an adventurous sense of design, and getting dirt... Read more »
Our Shear Ease® Grass Shears include a patented mechanism that prevents the blades from jamming or sticking when you’re trimmin... Read more »
The first time you try our PowerGear® Hedge Shears, you’ll be amazed — but it’s not magic, it’s gears. Our patented gear techno... Read more »
Our Easy-Pour Watering Can offers both capacity and control. The 2.6-gallon volume holds a generous amount of water that is eas... Read more »
Put your crafting skills to work and create a beautiful and unique fascinator that reflects your personal style. Read more »
“Painting” with tissue paper is not only fun but beautiful! Read more »
Mosaic tile frames are a beautiful way to display photos. Read more »
Designed for long, easy cuts down strips of Duck® Tape, our Duck® Edition Scissors feature a non-stick blade coating that preve... Read more »
Add distinctive style to craft projects of all kinds with a Squeeze Punch that makes every embellishment up to 2X easier to pun... Read more »
Designed for tight, precise cuts through Duck® Tape, our Duck® Edition Detail Scissors feature a non-stick blade coating that p... Read more »
Create this easy party dress and she will be ready for any summer occasion! Read more »
A colorful, roomy bag is just the thing you need to carry all your belongings for a day at the beach. Read more »
Keep the kids busy on a road trip with their own art bag full of inspiration and the essentials. Read more »
Only our Stitcher Scissors provide precision and control that meet the needs of the most demanding sewers and quilters. Micro-T... Read more »
Our Seamstress Scissors are the perfect all-purpose scissors for anyone who cuts fabric frequently. The smooth action of these... Read more »
Choose our Dressmaker Shears for long, smooth cuts through multiple layers of medium to heavy fabrics. Extra-long blades maximi... Read more »
Looking for a sure cure for bored kids - make sparkly sea creatures! Read more »
Open-ended activities like this Busy Book can keep kids occupied in the back seat of a car AND spark fun family conversations! Read more »
It doesn’t take much to turn an everyday snack into something a little extra special. It is great to see how quickly you can a... Read more »
Our Preschool Training Scissors features a special training lever that opens the blades after each cut, helping children learn... Read more »
Children love our Designer Non-stick Blunt-tip Kids Scissors for the colorful handle patterns that make cutting fun and the non... Read more »
Our Designer Non-stick Student Scissors are larger than our Kids Scissors but smaller than adult scissors, perfect for those ol... Read more »
The beautiful mood lighting of lanterns at outdoor gatherings is fabulous, so why not craft up a set to use this summer. Read more »
Does it seem like every 4th of July you are scrambling around your dresser trying to find something patriotic to wear? Read more »
It is fun to add a little something special into the kids’ snacks, especially on holidays! Read more »
The StaySharp™ Max Reel Mower combines patent-pending technology with superior ergonomics to deliver best-in-class cutting perf... Read more »
Great for beginners, the unique design of this tool makes cutting perfect shapes from fabric a breeze — since you’re not managi... Read more »
Perfect for a wide range of sewing and quilting tasks, our Amplify® RazorEdge™ Fabric Shears sense blade separation and force t... Read more »
In this monthly series, I’ll be offering up tips and tricks to help you start, develop and maintain a flourishing seed-grown garden. We’ll look at materials, tools and seeds as well as timely tips for managing your plants once those seeds begin to grow. From flowers to food crops, look to this series for seedy solutions.
Since we’re launching at the start of the year – when the Northern Hemisphere is wintery – we’ll begin by looking at the tools and materials you’ll want to start seeds indoors. By encouraging your seeds to germinate early and put on a bit of growth despite winter’s dark, cold days, you may find that your garden flowers and produces food earlier, more successfully and longer than it would otherwise. While some gardeners have good luck sowing seeds into any old dirt-filled pot placed in a bright window, many find that a few more tools really get those early seeds going stronger and faster.
Here’s what you’ll need and why:
• Seeds: At risk of stating the obvious, I remind you that seeds are a requirement. By winter, most seed catalogs are available and nurseries are beginning to stock up on flower and food seeds. If you plan to try something exotic, be sure to check with your vendor to see if the seed requires stratifying. Some larger seeds and more unusual seeds won’t grow unless they are scratched with sandpaper or pre-treated in some other way to mimic what happens to them in nature.
• Calendar: Keeping a calendar really helps. Begin by noting the date you seeded. Jot down when your seeds germinate. Mark the date you thin seedlings, pot them up and when they go into the garden. Put a big star on the day they bloom or are harvested to eat. Keeping track of these dates will make year-after-year gardening easier and help you grow as a gardener. Plus, if you make a note of when you sow, you can also calculate and mark the date when you expect your crop to come in. Most seed packets will provide “days to crop” to help.
• Starting Pots, Trays and Lids: Seeding into small containers is ideal even if your ultimate crop will need lots of room to grow. As time goes on, you will divide and transplant young seedlings. (I’ll cover that later in this series.) Pop a few ice-pick sized drain holes into small, recycled yogurt containers and fit the tops with rubber-banded plastic wrap to great tiny DIY starter pots. Or try using a cardboard egg carton or even a produce “clam-shell” as your seed starting pot. Otherwise, purchase pre-formed starting trays from your favorite nursery. These kits usually come with a greenhouse dome lid. These clear plastic lids help intensify sunlight and heat, encouraging seeds to germinate and grow rapidly. Keep them closed to trap heat and moisture until the seedlings begin to grow.
• Labels: Be sure to label every pack or tray you seed as you plant. Use a pencil to write the date seeded and name of the crop on a wooden or plastic plant label. Or, make a label of your own by cutting up dairy product cups. By writing in pencil, you will be able to erase and re-use non-disposable plastics year after year.
• Soil: Ideally seeds are started in what are called sterile, “soil-less” potting mixes. These are very lightweight and because they are sterile, they are less likely to promote any of the many diseases that plague young seedlings. Wet them thoroughly before sowing your seeds. Then, keep them consistently moist, but don’t let them sit in standing water or risk losing your young seedlings. In later articles, I’ll cover potting up and when to begin adding fertilizers.
• Lighting: Most winter locations don’t receive enough natural sunlight to provide for the needs of growing seedlings. Supplemental indoor lighting can make all the difference to get your seedlings growing fast. Most nurseries and garden catalogers offer shelve systems with built-in lights specific to this need. Or, mount florescent shop style lights onto an old recycled bookshelf. (Just be sure that you use bulbs appropriate to your lamp and sufficient for growing plants.) Connecting a timer means you can create as much replicated daylight, as you need at any time of day. Ideally, you’ll want to provide your seed trays will 6-8 hours of high-quality, uninterrupted “sunlight” while they grow. The quality of the light is as important as the duration.
• Heat: By planting indoors, you may be providing all the heat your seedlings need. But, by warming the soil a bit more, you may get stronger plants faster. Seed warming mats are available at most nurseries. Or, take advantage of floor furnace vents by positioning tables or shelves holding your seed trays over the vents, ensuring the vents have sufficient air clearance. Always make sure not to block your vents or intake systems and never place anything on or near a flammable heat source.
• Water: Keeping newly seeded soil moist can be tricky especially indoors on dry, winter days. Check your soil moisture once a day, at least. Using a spray bottle mister rather than a watering can is a great way to keep seeded soil and young seedlings watered without causing soil and root disruption.
Once you have all of your gear in hand, you’re ready to get started growing from seed. Set up your light table. Fill up your starter pots; moisten the soil well until it drains. Sow your seeds as deeply as the packet recommends, following up with labels right away. Place your pots over heat and under lights. Cover them with a greenhouse lid. And, depending on what you’ve sown, you’ll probably start seeing young, green growth emerge within a few days or weeks.
Next time in this series: Dividing Seedlings & Potting Up