Retrovore shows how to start plants from seeds

Not too long ago food-politics blogging pioneer Kerry Trueman — who used to write primarily at Eating Liberally (which she cofounded) but now blogs around like a shameless agtivist hussy (and I mean that in the most admiring way) — started a cool new resource site,, with her equally awesome husband, Matt. Kerry is a longtime gardener and has been trying to inspire me to plant some vegetables in my back yard, sending me helpful books about small-space gardening and gently asking if I’ve started yet.

I haven’t, I’m ashamed to say. However, a friend gave me some cranberry and runner beans to plant, and I was too embarrassed to tell her I had no idea how to start them — did I just stick them in the ground and water? I knew it was kinda more complicated than that, but I didn’t really have a clue. (Go ahead. Laugh. I have grown herbs and tomatoes in containers for a few summers, but I have always bought starts. That was before I was reborn as a frugalista.)

Well lo and behold, Kerry and Matt have just posted a great 5-minute video on Retrovore that walks you through assembling a seed-starting kit from start to finish, on the cheap. Check it out, and then head over to Retrovore for links to seed companies and other resources.

3 Responsesto “Retrovore shows how to start plants from seeds”

  1. girasol says:

    Clever, but you really can just stick them outside in the dirt and water them – all my life we had a family kitchen garden in the backyard, and that’s what we did every spring.

    Starting indoors is good for getting a head start if you have a late growing season, as is the case in northern areas.

    Otherwise it’s much simpler to just stick the darn things in the ground, and go out and water them once or twice a day until they are established.

    Nice video though.

  2. You’re so right–we had hoped to get this video up, like, a month ago, when it would have helped more folks get a jump start on spring. But it was our first foray into DIY video-making and took longer than we expected (sigh.) It should still be useful for folks in cooler climates.

    For the rest of us, now’s the time to sow seeds directly, and it couldn’t be simpler. I do have one new trick I’m fond of for starting nasturtiums, those loveliest of all edibles: the night before you’re gonna stick ‘em in the ground, soak the seeds in a thermos filled with warm water. They will germinate in no time. Not that they take so long, anyway! It’s just fun to see them pop up so quickly.

  3. Bonnie P. says:

    I should have explained that I can’t just stick the seeds in the dirt even if I want to. My back yard isn’t ready: it’s overgrown once again with weeds and it has the worst cementlike clay soil you’ve ever seen. I need to do raised beds for anything to have a hope of growing. So I plan to adapt Kerry’s method in order to give my little seeds a head start and with luck to goose me to get going on the raised beds.