Published Feb 17, 2016

Seed Starting 101: Two Examples

By Practical Farmers of Iowa


For fruit and vegetable producers, the growing season begins long before the first crops are actually planted in the ground. There are many variations to the process of starting seeds indoors, and each farm has unique methods and schedules according to its goals, markets and available resources. Hear about seed-starting from two horticulture farmers who grow for different end markets: Susan Jutz, who grows produce for a CSA, and Glen Elsbernd, who grows plant starts and produce for market.

Susan Jutz owns and operates ZJ Farms near Solon, Iowa, raising vegetables for Local Harvest CSA, the 200-member Community Supported Agriculture business she helps to supply. Susan has participated in numerous on-farm research projects with Practical Farmers, and was the 2014 recipient of PFI’s Sustainable Agriculture Achievement Award.

Glen Elsbernd and his wife Beth have been farming near Ridgeway, Iowa, since 2008. They now own and operate G It’s Fresh, a certified organic farm that primarily grows wholesale and custom plant starts in their two heated greenhouses.