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Ann is an avid gardener, cook and garden writer, and a Vermont Certified Horticulturist. She tends to her old farmhouse and organic homestead where she raises blueberries, raspberries, strawberries, and elderberries, as well as fruit and nut trees. Ann grows vegetables and herbs in raised beds and containers that are tucked into a lush landscape of perennial gardens in the scenic Winooski River Valley. A trained horticulturist and ecological landscape designer, she is the author of four gardening books, including Organic Gardening for Dummies, and is a longtime contributor to many magazines, websites and other publications.
The GrowEase Seed Starter Kit is a convenient, self-watering system.
How it works:
HOW do I grow basil?" my daughter asked. Kate is a college student on a tight budget, but she likes to eat well and make fresh food. "I want to make tons of pesto this summer."
"Starting your own plants from seed is the least expensive way to go," I replied.
She's a new gardener whose enthusiasm surpasses her experience, I knew exactly how to help her get started. "I've got a foolproof solution for you." I gave her our new GrowEase Seed Starter Kit. With enough space to start 24 basil plants, the kit includes everything she — and the basil seedlings — needs to get growing, all in one tidy package.
Knowing when and how much to water causes a lot of anxiety for newbie seed starters. Too much water and the roots rot. Too little and the sprouts wilt. Plus, alternating over-watering and under-watering stresses seedlings and stunts their growth. The self-watering seed-starting kit takes the worry out of watering. The seed tray sits on a capillary mat that wicks water from the reservoir below, giving the young plants moisture, as they need it. All Kate needs to do is keep the reservoir full. A clear greenhouse dome keeps the humidity high until the seeds sprout.
With Easy Grow, left, and without.
The Seedstarting Grow Kit includes Easy Grow Fertilizer. After her basil seedlings sprout and grow their first true leaves, she can simply add the odorless, fuss-free fertilizer to the water in the reservoir. Easy Grow amazed Deborah, our test gardener, when she tested it in our lab. When she compared seedlings growing side-by-side, some fed with Easy Grow and some fed with other fertilizers, the seedlings fed with Easy Grow were healthier, with deeper green foliage and sturdier stems than any of the others. When it's time to transplant them outdoors, Kate's vigorous basil seedlings will acclimate quickly, grow faster and yield her first batch of pesto that much sooner. I hope she invites me to dinner!
The reservoir, growing tray and platform are all dishwasher-safe, making it easy to clean and disinfect them between plantings. Clean equipment is important to get seedlings off to a good start and prevent disease problems.
The sturdy GrowEase Seed Starter Kit will hold up to many seasons of use, as our family's newest gardener gains experience and confidence from her seedstarting success. I can't wait to see what she else she grows this year!
Last updated: 11/1/15
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