I did some math, counting back from our last frost date- april 15th since i’m in the city-and got out the seed packets. Didn’t take me too long to clear off the grow table in the basement, and find the starter pots from last year.
Most importantly, i took the time to look at my notes from last year, looking at number of seedlings and when i started them. I think it’s a common gardening phenomenon in the winter to get over excited and start too many seedlings too early. That’s certainly what i did last year- starting eggplants and tomatoes in early feburary is way too early for my garden in DC. Sure, i didn’t kill the plants when i set them out in the spring, but they just sat there for a month until the soil warmed up. This weakens the plant, making it more susceptible to disease and pests, so you’re betting off waiting those extra weeks.
Last week, i started napa cabbage, kale, mixed lettuce, collards, and cauliflower seeds. I prefer to do a group sprout, then, as they get their first set of true leaves, pot them up into individual cells. If you’re doing this method, don’t wait too long as the roots will get tangled up and damaged as you try to separate them. I prefer a group sprout because it allows me to choose the healthiest plant, guarantees that each pot gets a plant, and i think it saves on seeds too. Simply scatter some seeds over damp potting soil, cover with a thin layer of wet soil, cover the tray (ziploc bags work well), and slide under the lights for 14 hours a day. Wallah, you’ve started a garden!