The Seeds Have Sprouted Without Pesticides

If you asked people whether or not they trusted the government most of them would tell you "NO". Yet for some the government's control over food or lack thereof, goes unnoticed.  For those of us who know not to trust the government's oversight of our food safety many choose organic over conventional produce in order to avoid pesticides. While the toxicity of each pesticide varies, birth defects, nerve damage, cancer, and "other" health effects are listed on the EPA's website as potential outcomes of pesticide exposure. The sensitivity to these chemicals will vary among individuals and I think people should avoid them if possible. My husband likes to tease me by asking if I want a radioactive rock because it's "all natural". The thing is, we know radiation is dangerous so we protect ourselves from it. So, why do we allow our food to be sprayed with things which can cause adverse health effects? As a former analytical chemist what concerns me is that the toxicity of each pesticide is tested individually. While it would be a lengthy and complex study I'd like to see someone attempt to understand how all of the pesticides combined affect our health. 

In the meantime, I trust myself and I really want to know what happens to my produce. So, I've started some seeds indoors for a vegetable garden this year. At the local store I picked up a Burpee Self Watering Seed Starter kit with 16 cells. (see video below) The set came with soil optimal for sprouting seeds and a design that allows it to water itself for 10 days. In the photo below you will also notice the tray is stamped with the letters A, B, C, and D. The kit also contained a map of the tray layout with the letters so you can keep track of where things are planted. Some say to buy a light specifically for growing plants but I used a small desk lamp during the day to generate some heat. 

I chose seeds in the store from Seeds of Change not only because they are organic but also because I support their overall mission.
Some seeds perform better when they are started indoors and others must be started outside. Starting seeds indoors generates a productive garden earlier, it is also less expensive to buy seeds than individual plants. An additional bonus, since I purchased heirloom seeds I can save seeds from my garden for use next year. 

In each cell I planted a few extra seeds just in case a few didn't sprout. Although I didn't keep track I'm pretty sure I'm near a 100% germination rate. I have more lettuce sprouts than my 8' by 4' raised garden bed is going to allow for if I wish to have any variety. (See the second row from the top in the photo below) Lettuce seedlings have to be planted 12" apart so I'm going to plant 10 or 12 and try growing a few indoors. It is very hot and dry here in southwestern Idaho so I'm curious to see how lettuce will do in this environment. 

Sprouted Seeds in a Burpee Self Watering Seed Germination Kit (cover removed)

The lettuce, cucumbers, and tomatoes were the first to sprout. Beans, watermelon, basil, and cantaloupe followed behind. Bell peppers and jalapenos took the longest to sprout. They nearly took 2 weeks so be patient and don't forget to check the water level in the sprouting kit . When the seedlings were tall enough to reach the plastic cover of the seed kit I transplanted them into planters shaped like window boxes. I chose this shape because they fit in the windowsill but any container will certainly do. 

There are fancy garden markers you can purchase but I opted for a simple homemade variety. I folded a piece of masking tape over the end of a toothpick and wrote the name of the plant on the tape. Since I spend my days keeping up with a toddler I needed something that was quick and didn't require a lot of fuss.

Stay tuned for more news from the garden.

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