I don't care what that groundhog says. The crocus are starting to come up, and it's time for me to dream big garden dreams!
Some like it hot
I stared the hot peppers (I have 3 heirloom varieties of mini-tomatoes I'll be starting this way soon). This year I'm using the coffee filter method of jump starting the seeds. You dampen a coffee filter, pop some seeds on it, wrap it up and put it inside a zippy bag. Check on it every few days to make sure all the seeds are fresh and the filter is still damp.
Peppers need heat to germinate, between 80-85 degrees. I could buy an expensive heat mat, or I could just duct tape them next to the night light bulb on my stained glass lamp. Weird but this way I can watch them grow, like candling chicken eggs. (Some seeds like darkness to germinate, but peppers don't mind being in the spotlight.)
Once you see the little tap root coming out of the seed, stick them in a pot. They still need to be warm a few more days though, and I discovered the top of my cable box is nice and toasty too. When the leaves pop up, you have to move them to the light and the heat treatment can cease.
Some like it cold
My flowers and herbs (also mostly heirloom varieties) have been winter or cold sown. Pretty much you make little greenhouses out of various recyclables and pop them outside any time in the winter. The shelters keep the worst weather out, while the cooling and warming of spring encourages increased growth of hearty varieties. Best of all, I can reduce my inside seed growing to the peppers and tomatoes so I can use fewer shop lights. Al Gore would be proud.
Click on me to see what I'm growing
I've never winter sown, so it's an experiment, but look at what I see in early March!