After several months of darkness, it's a pleasure to able to work with something green again. We have a lot growing on the farm already and even though it is officially 'work', I find that being around full spectrum lights and fresh smelling compost is quite therapeutic as we endure these last few blustery days of early spring. Healthy plants start with healthy soil so before we get out the seeds, we need to mix up a batch of potting mix. One of our standards on the farm is to grow our food without any synthetic fertilizers and that starts from day one. Therefore, we choose to make our own potting mix so we know exactly what goes in it. Our recipe uses a base of peat moss, perlite, and compost, and is enriched with greensand, rock phosphate, bonemeal, and rock dust to provide minerals for the plants in their early stages.
Once the potting mix is made, we compress it into small blocks and begin planting. We start most seeds in a 3/4 inch or 1.5 inch soil block and then transplant the seedlings into larger blocks as they require more space. For example, the peppers in the photo below were started on 3/4 inch blocks about 3 weeks ago and have since been transplanted into 2 inch blocks.
This is one of our two indoor seed starting shelves. As you can see, it's already full! We are looking forward to slightly warmer temperatures which will allow us to start moving some of these seedlings out into our new greenhouse.