Our Mission

To live a self-sufficient and organic lifestyle for the next half century. With the Grace of God and the power of prayer, we will succeed. Nothing is impossible with His help. It wouldn't be us without laughter and joy at the Cockeyed Homestead.

Sunday, February 23, 2020

Starting Seeds for Spring Planting and Beyond

StWhen it comes to starting seeds, some people will wait until they can plant to seeds in the soil. That's fine if you want to wait the whole time to maturity, seeds that don't sprout, or have them wither and die off in the first weeks of life leaving empty patches in your rows. I understand why you would do this if you were planting acres of one crop, but most homesteaders don't. We grow more manageable rows that are 10', 25', or 50' to get the yields we need for our personal consumption, or have extras to sell at the local markets. We aren't commercial growers. We grow what we like.

For example take tomatoes. We love tomatoes on this homestead. We sauced, stew, dice, and even dehydrate them. Plus we'll eat them fresh all season long until the first heavy frost will kill the plants. I calculated how many pounds of tomatoes we'd need to accomplish our goal of a year's worth of produce. There are several kinds of seeds you can buy. Our choice is heirloom and grow them chemical-free. For canning, I like Roma tomatoes. They are oblong versus big and round.several hundred pounds of these to can. For fresh eating nothing beats Purple Cherokee and Beefsteak. While, technically can these also, I usually don't. We just 💓 good old 'mater sandwiches during the summer. It's making my mouth water just thinking about it.

The same goes for green beans.  Although a harvest of a little over eighty pounds will be needed for long term storage plus fresh eating. These will be grown in succession planting for a harvest until frost for fresh eating. I prefer bush beans to pole beans. You'd think as little as our gardening space is (less than 1/8 an acre) that I would grow vertically, but with this vegetable I'd rather not.

So here it is the middle of February and I'm just now starting my seeds for my spring garden. The couple inches of snow fall was unexpected, and then I remembered the video Mel sent me just two weeks before I moved here  in March 2016 of it snowing. It still kind of threw me off starting my seeds indoors like I planned.

So what am I sowing indoors?
Assorted lettuces, spinach, carrots, onions, radishes, beets, English peas, celery, green cabbage, and napa cabbage. With my limited planting space, I can't grow enough broccoli or Brussels sprouts to make it worth my while.

So how many plants will I need to plant for a year's worth for the two of us?
Assorted lettuces-I cut the outer leaves as they grow but still I started a 10x20 flat tray of them. I usually buy a variety of lettuce seeds we like and mix them all together to plant them. I'll start several trays a couple weeks apart before the summer heat starts. Then plant again in the fall. If Mel builds me a high tunnel greenhouse, I can continue planting through December.
Spinach-This is a tough one to guesimate because we also use them in salads. But I planted 40 plants and that should yield me about 7 lbs.
Carrots- I dunno, who can count carrot seeds? I sprinkled about half a packet over a 5"x10" container.
Onions- Again, as with the carrots, tiny specks of seeds sprinkled over a 5"x10" container.
Radishes & Beets- I mainly grow these for dyes and the greens, Twenty-five each and planted in succession.
English Peas- On average the figures are 30 plants per person. So I sowed 60 seeds
Celery- This is another cut as it grows. I sowed ten seeds and do succession planting.
Green cabbage- I sowed six to make my sauerkraut and freeze some. I'm the only one that eats it. I may dehydrate some to put in soba noodles.
Napa cabbage- I sowed six of these as well for Kimchi and stir fry. It dose not preserve well.

The summer garden indoor seeds begins the last of March and April. That's hard for me to believe since our last predicted frost date is mid April. We won't actually plant any of the seeds I start today until May 1st.


  1. The photo of the seed packets hooked me. :) Great post. Here's hoping for an excellent gardening year for us all.

  2. Hi Jo :) I used to start seeds indoors every year in April. I have ONE sunny window here in the rental and it was jam packed with little pots! This year though, we'll be moving so no seed starting, which makes me kind of sad. If I have any kind of garden this year, it will likely be in containers again when we arrive at our destination, wherever and whenever that will be! :)


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