Tuesday’s Tips — Seed Starting Mix & Weeding Tool

Two Tuesday’s Tips in a row! We amaze ourselves.

This week Mary Beth wants to tell you about her favorite tool. Last summer she slapped one in my hand and I was an instant convert. Then I’ve got some tips for starting peas and beans.

Mary Beth: If I had to pick only one important tip to give you, it would be to find yourself a good tool to weed with. For years I never used a tool to pull weeds — never even thought about it. Then about twelve years ago my first client introduced me to the Cape Cod weeder and it was a revelation. Aaaaahhhhhh! It’s made weeding almost bearable.

During the growing season it never leaves my side. There was a time when I had only one Cape Cod weeder and then it disappeared (I later found in the compost pile). I was completely lost without it, so now I have at least 3 at all times. It’s oddly ergonomic and I sometimes give them to clients who are suffering from achy joints. Every single one of them is now hooked. I purchase mine through Amazon.

My other tip is buy some screaming bright paint and paint the handles of your tools so you can find them in your garden beds and compost piles!

Barbara: So many tips to share! Here are a couple for this week, just in time to help you get your peas and beans started.

The first one is a recipe for a soil-less seed starting mix. Everyone knows that you should use this or sterile seed starting mix (don’t sterilize soil yourself, buy it at the garden store) so you don’t loose your seedlings to damping off, right?

4 quarts shredded sphagnum moss

2 quarts fine grade vermiculite

2 quarts perlite

1/4 cup kelp meal

1 tablespoon ground limestone

Mix all ingredients in a clean bucket. Wet down the night before you plant your seeds so you’ll have a a nice crumbly mix to start your seeds in.

Tip #2: Using an inoculant when you start your beans and peas can significantly increase your crop yield, but did you know that you should only use bottled water to start? That’s because chlorine in tap water will kill the bacteria that are in the inoculant. So go get yourself some bean and pea inoculant from your friendly neighborhood, independent garden store. Soak your seeds in bottled water for a half-hour or so. Drain the water and spoon the inoculant into the container of wet seeds. Mix it to coat the seeds and then plant them right away. Make sure you use either new containers or old ones that you have washed with a 10% bleach solution (1 part bleach + 9 parts water). Rinse well after washing with the bleach solution.

Happy planting!

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