I also like to keep any printouts about the plants in my garden notebook. Since I grow more uncommon medicinal and tea herbs, it helps me to have detailed information on their planting, growing, and harvesting requirements. Heirloom Organics has growing guides for many medicinal and culinary herbs, vegetables, and fruit. I use their guides every year.
Over the past few weeks we have also been working on getting the seed starting setup going. We have our growing setup in the basement. It is an unfinished space, but we have my art studio, a few couches, craft & art supplies, a treadmill, rugs, a trampoline, and an office down there. With kids running around and a lot of foot traffic, I wanted to tuck the seed starting under the stairs so that it is away from the action but easy to access. We use standard shop lights for our seed starting. I have several types of bulbs, and use warm, cool, and full spectrum grow bulbs so that seedlings get a healthy dose of everything. The nice thing about under the stairs is that it is easy to install hooks to securely hang the lighting, and we have room to put the light timer, a fan, and keep supplies stored safely. We don't have anything fancy, but I can fit over 500 seedlings at a time in here (and I still have several shop lights left over at this point, so plenty of opportunity to expand). I will also have some flats on trays in sunny windows upstairs as we go along, but most seedlings will easily transition from basement to our popup outdoor greenhouses this spring. We have two small popup greenhouses, and then I added a 6'x6'x4' walk in which can hold another 2 dozen or more trays. I should be able to grow a LOT of seedlings in a pretty small amount of space. And my neighbors will only see peeks of the backyard greenhouses for a month and a half or so, before the bigger ones go back in storage.
Growing from seed takes more attention and care than buying plants at a nursery, but you can get SO MUCH MORE variety, grow organic end to end, and save a lot of money when you look at the final output. Seed starting isn't HARD, it just requires organization and a little bit of time and attention. You could easily have just two shop lights with warm and cool bulbs over a few seed trays in your basement or closet and have enough plants for your garden.
So I have my garden notebook setup and ready, my seeds are in their folders, the lights are setup, and I have all of my seed starting medium ready to mix and start. NEXT...seed starting (really)!
I am a certified aromatherapist, clinical herbalist, organic gardener, plant conservationist, photographer, writer, designer, artist, nature lover, permaculture designer, health justice activist, whole foods maker, and mother of two unschooled boys in south central Wisconsin.