Spring Is Here!
It’s that time of year, when the cold hard grip of winter begins to recede, and our hopes and dreams for future gardens grow bigger and bigger. Know the best and easiest ways to start seeds for your garden, so your yields can be as big as your organically fed stomach.
If you’re like me, you can’t wait to begin planting fruits and vegetables outside, growing your own mini organic farm for all to see. So that’s why growing your own seedlings indoors is a necessity, and it can save you tons of money too. Also, when you start your crops from seeds indoors, you are open to a whole new world of the non-garden variety crops from heirloom varieties to organic and disease resistant. The plant world is your oyster.
How To Begin?
There are many ways to start seeds in your home before the weather turns from the depressing gloom of grey sleet and yellow snow (from our lovely dogs) to the beautiful blue skies of summer. What’s wonderful about seed starting in your home, is the excitement it brings and the hope of better weather to come. Who doesn’t enjoy thinking about warm weather and blue skies when your current situation is filled with cold and gloom.
There are many ways to go about starting plants, but many people agree that using grow lights is a universally good idea. Not all window-sills will provide the light and warmth for most seeds to germinate. The seedlings will need lots of light, so if you don’t want to use a grow light, place them in a sunny, south-facing window. If they don’t get enough sunshine, the seedlings will not thrive. You can read more about the best grow lights here.
Time It Right
The main purpose of seed starting is to have your little plants ready to go outside when the weather becomes nice, so it is important to look at the seed packets in order to decide when you should start them inside. Reading directions is important! The labels on the back will tell you how far in advance to plant before the last frost, say six to eight weeks.
Another important factor is to start slow! Don’t over do it if you are new to the seed starting game. Pick a few of your favorite vegetables and stick with them. This is a learning process, and gardening is not something you learn overnight. This is a lifetime hobby!
What Kind Of Seeds?
So you know what you want to plant, but you don’t know where to get your seeds. Well, I always recommend organic seeds! You want the best quality seeds that will not only grow well but feed yourself and your family with the best and healthiest nutrition.
In addition, look for the OMRI label which stands for The Organic Materials Review Institute. Especially for soil and fertilizer, you know you will be getting the best when you see this label.
The OMRI label guarantees quality by developing clear information and guidance about materials independently reviews products such as fertilizers, pest controls, etc. I trust no one thing or product more than a product that has been vetted and approved by OMRI. You can find such products here.
Containers, Containers, Containers…
The next question is, where do I put my seeds? You must find the right containers to start sprouting your seeds, and you can do this in almost any type of container that is at least 2-3 inches deep and has some drainage holes. You can find seed starting trays here.
Containers aren’t the only thing you need, though. The SOIL is paramount to good health of the seeds and in the end the nutritional value of your plant or vegetable. All nutrition comes from the soil, so get them the best. In the beginning get soil made for starting seeds. Don’t use soil from your garden or re-use soil from your houseplants.
Time To Plant!
Now it’s time to start planting! Check the seed packets to see how deep you should plant your seeds. Some of the small ones can be sprinkled right on top of the soil, larger seeds will need to be buried. I always plant about 2 seeds per pot or cell, just in case. If both the seeds start to germinate, you can always clip one to make room for the other. Moisten the newly planted seeds with a mister or watering can (gently) and to speed up their germination you can cover the pots with plastic wrap or a plastic dome. This will help create humidity to help the germination process. When you see the first signs of green, remove the dome.
As the seedlings grow, you’ll want to use a mister to keep the soil moist but NOT soggy. Let the soil slightly dry between waterings.
And again, light is incredibly important! You will need lots of light! Rotate the pots regularly to keep plants from leaning into the light and if you are using grow lights, adjust them so they are a few inches above the tops of the seeds. Y0u can also set a timer for the lights so the plants get 15 hours of light per day.
You’ve been taking care of your seed babies for weeks now, so don’t rush them outside and push them out of the nest. They need a smooth transition outdoors so be gentle. The process is called hardening off. About one week before you bring them into your outdoor garden, place them in a protected spot outdoors (partly shaded and out of the wind) for a few hours and bring them in during the night. Gradually, over the course of a week or 10 days, expose them to more and more sunshine and wind. This will help them get used to the outdoors and thrive!!
Congratulations on getting your seeds ready and enjoying the nice weather! It’s springtime and we all deserve nice weather and beautiful plants!