“Seeds are crucial for the life systems of our planet. They are beneficial for the healing of disease. They provide fresh oxygen for people to breathe. They radically reduce the human impact on climate change. By growing food organically and at home, we are decreasing our footprint on the planet even more than CO2 emissions from coal-fired power stations: we eliminate food miles, packaging prices, transportation fuel, and travel costs.”
At CRUDE, we’ve learned to trust nature when it comes to what we put on and in our bodies, how we treat ourselves, and and how we treat the planet, and it’s our mission to help others trust it, too. For us, it all started with our sunflower based oil cleansing system. You wouldn’t think that dedication to sustainable skincare would necessarily lead to growing plants, and yet here we are! There’s something special about slowing down and watching nature do her thing, and what better way to do that than to get our hands in the dirt?
There are a million reasons you should consider growing your own food. It reduces your carbon footprint, saves you money, and provides you with tons of super-fresh, nutrient dense produce. After all, healthy skin starts within.
We are thrilled about collaborating with Innerspacism’s Olivia to bring you GROW, a blog series detailingeverything you need to know about planting, growing, maintaining, storing, and devouring your own fresh herbs and veggies.
So, first things first!
Olivia Rochelle Henrie is the owner of Innerspacism, a company that sells handcrafted and natural goods and also promotes a healthy, self sustaining lifestyle--her work is completely in alignment with our goals at CRUDE, so collaborating with her on this series just seemed--well, natural. She finds a passion in curating and styling all spaces, including gardens. After studying horticulture and working as a gardener for several years, she enjoys sharing her knowledge of the process with others, and she spends her free time covered in dirt.
PART ONE: GERMINATE
We began our adventures in germination in Sabrina’s backyard, on the Vernal Equinox itself--apropos, no?
If you haven’t considered germinating your own seeds, you should. Not only is germination more cost-effective than buying pre-germinated seeds from a nursery, it also gives you the option of a much wider variety of veggies and fruits.
Does it sound scary? Or hard? It’s really not. Unlike a lot of things in life, germinating seeds comes with directions right on the packet. The importance of those directions were one of the things Olivia pointed out first.
“Always keep your seed packets,” she said, passing them around the table. “These seed packets have a lot of information about how long to germinate and the best time to plant outdoors.”
Seeds and packets in hand? Good. Here’s what else you’ll need.
Planting Containers. The two most common options for containers are plastic, which can be sterilized and reused to germinate year after year, and peat pots, which are popular because they are biodegradable and can be planted directly into the ground.
Seed Germinating Soil. Yes, Virginia, you do need special soil. Seed germinating soil is airier and less dense than soil you might get from say, your backyard, and is good for drainage. It’s also weed-seed-free, which the stuff from your backyard might not be. You can find this soil, marked, at any nursery.
Popsicle Sticks. For labeling names, dates planted, and notes on other relevant info that will help you take your plant from seed to fruition.
Mister. No, we’re not suggesting you need a man for this job. This is a mister of the spritzing variety. Watering cans can cause a lot of disruption in the soil and stress the seedlings. Misting those tiny babies is a much more gentle and effective way of watering.
Once you’ve gathered all your supplies, here’s how you proceed.
1) Mist your germinating soil until it’s moist. Fill all the containers with moistened soil, and tap down to make sure the soil is evenly distributed and air pockets are relieved. You don’t need to press too hard--that can cause compaction, and that’s what we don’t want.
2) Use a long, thin tool like a pencil or chopstick, and poke a hole into each cell. This is where you’ll be planting your seeds.
3) Insert seed(s) into hole. Your seed packet will tell you how many seeds you can plant in a cell, and how deep. It’s usually about ½-1”. Press down to even out soil.
4) Mist your plants 1-2 times per day. Olivia suggests that the best times are early mornings or at night.
5) When multiple seedlings start to sprout in one cell, you can either separate them into other cells or cut off the extra seedling and keep the healthier looking one. If you have two that are pretty tangled together, you have to gently shake off the soil and separate them without pulling. You also want to avoid the root ball at the base of the plant, as that is like the nervous system, and damaging that will damage the whole operation.
6) As the seedlings start to mature, you can place them under a plant light, or just make sure they’re getting plenty of sunlight daily.
7) Once seedlings reach 3x the size of their cell, it’s time to transplant into a bigger container or even outside! Again, refer to the seed packet for proper planting time. The average time for germination seems to be around 6-10 weeks, depending on the type of seedling.
You can germinate as many seeds as you have room/patience for. Olivia’s house is full of little seedlings that she’s been caring for, and a lot of those little seedlings are going to be the stars of our GROW Series!
You may be asking what you can germinate inside vs what you can germinate outside, or if there are some that can be germinated both indoors and outdoors. Here’s Olivia’s shortlist:
- Seeds that can be started indoors are: tomatoes, eggplants, peppers
- Seeds that can be started outdoors are: carrots, beets, radishes, beans, and peas
- Seeds that can be started indoors or outdoors are: lettuce, melons, squash, and cucumbers.
If you have any gardening ideas or questions for us as you follow along in this series, please let us know in the comments! We’re so excited to cultivate gardens with you!
Stay tuned for Part 2 of GROW, where we’ll teach you how to transplant your seedlings to pots or the ground.
And there you have it! On your mark, get set, GROW!