1 Our seed starting Facebook chat is shot from the head house of my main greenhouse here at the farm. It is a large room, complete with big galvanized tables where we do lots of potting and repotting of plants, and other gardening chores.
2 I love this time of year when I can peruse all the catalogs and order my seeds for the coming season. These are some of the wonderful catalogs we get with all kinds of different seed options.
3 I am joined by my head gardener, Ryan McCallister. We like to get an early jump on seed starting every year - we have been seeding indoors for several weeks already.
4 This is Blackie, our greenhouse cat. Everyone loves him here at the farm - he wanted a little "face time" during our LIVE Facebook show.
5 Sam Schutz and Tina Weber Carmelich capture all our video and audio information on an iPhone - these Facebook chats are so fun and easy to do.
7 "Beg, borrow or buy your seeds". Whenever I travel, it is one of the first things I like to buy. These seeds came from our senior EVP of merchandising, Patsy Pollack.
8 Marci Greenfield is our director of content marketing, and monitors the comments and all the questions I answer LIVE during the show - all of you have so many interesting gardening inquiries.
9 Seed starting trays are available in all sizes and formations. Select the right kind of tray based on the size of your seeds.
10 When ordering seeds, be sure to read the hardiness of a plant first - it will say in the seed catalog. And, know your hardiness zone, so you can select the right seeds for your area. Here in Bedford, we are zone-5. It is easy to look it up online.
11 A Facebook viewer asked about saving seeds. We saved these seeds from the pods of formosa lilies. Formosa lilies are among the most spectacular flowers - and the pods have thousands and thousands of seeds.
12 When seeding, use a formula mix that is specially made for starting seeds. A good seed starting medium will have perlite, vermiculite, and a large percentage of peat moss.
13 These are heating mats - they're available online. They provide just the right temperature for the soil and for proper germination, which is about 65-degrees Fahrenheit. Just plug it in and set the seed trays on top.
14 After dropping the seeds into the tray cells, cover them with a light layer of mix. The rule of thumb is to use the amount equal to the diameter of a seed. Once they germinate and grow too big for the trays, transfer into larger pots and then finally into the garden.
15 Once you've seeded, and watered, place the plastic top on the tray to create a mini greenhouse environment for the plants.
16 Here is a seed starting tool, a battery powered device that sends seeds down into each cell.
17 This tool will vibrate just enough to move each seed down to the tray. It makes seeding very easy, especially when they are so small.
19 Seed Savers Exchange, or SSE, is a non-profit organization based near Decorah, Iowa, that preserves heirloom plant varieties through regeneration, distribution and seed exchange. http://www.seedsavers.org
21 Some seeds germinate better if soaked in water overnight. These seeds need a bit of depth so make holes in a slightly larger seed tray and then drop the seeds in the cells.
22 Always give the seeds a little drink of water after planting them.
23 And, remember to label everything so you know what seeds you've planted.
24 This seed starting board is also helpful for making rows right into a seed tray of mix - it can be made or bought online. It has little moulding strips on a piece of plywood. If you decide to make one yourself, be sure it is the same size of the interior of your planting tray.
25 My sister, Laura, found this in a desk I gave to her, and it says "Lavender seeds, 1964" - they are from our father's garden - such a nice surprise. And, yes, original seeds still grow.
26 I wanted to plant this entire tray full of lavender. As many of you know, I am a big planter and I love to garden whenever I can.
27 Another way to start and plant seed is to use Eliot Coleman's soil blocks. Soil blocks serve as both the container and the soil for starting and growing seedlings.
28 To use them, just push down and press into moist soil and then put into a tray and release the soil. These are available at Johnny's Selected Seeds also.
29 These soil blocks make it so easy to transplant too - no need to take seedlings out of cells from a plastic container.
30 I also like to use the Urban Cultivator growing system - it has water, temperature and humidity all set-up in this refrigerator like unit. http://www.urbancultivator.net
31 I hope we inspired you to start looking through your seed catalogs and order your vegetable and garden seeds for the season. If you missed any of my Facebook chat, you still have all weekend to watch it - enjoy. https://www.facebook.com/marthastewart