Wednesday, March 18, 2015

How To Start Seeds Indoors

Photo by Samuel, modified.

Starting seeds indoors can seem like a daunting task, but once the somewhat messy process of planting is completed, the rest is a walk in the park. Here's what you need;

Potting Soil
Starter Pots
Spray Bottle

First, research the seeds. I like to research the seeds from online seed shops because it allows me to look at the reviews from people all across the US to see what varieties grow best in what locations. Most packets will have information printed on the front or back regarding when to plant, what type of soil, spacing for grown plants and amount of sunlight needed.

Seeds do best with natural light, so if you have a room full of south-facing windows that let in the natural sunlight, take full advantage!  If not, you will want to invest in some grow lights (simple fluorescent lights from the hardware store will do). Healthy seedlings need a minimum of six hours of natural sunlight per day, preferably more. If the plants aren't getting enough natural sunlight, supplement with added time from grow lights.

If you're using grow lights alone, it's recommended to keep them on for at least 12 to 16 hours per day. Since fake light is much weaker than sunlight, it won't hurt to keep them on longer. Remember, light is what creates the energy for plants to grow- the more, the better!
Use seed starter pots that are a double whammy- durable and biodegradable. This allows the option to plant them directly into the soil or to cut them off before transplanting. 

Starting with moist soil, fill the pots about 1/2 full. We work with the fertilizer-free potting soil you see below. It's especially made for seed starting from a nourishing blend of organic compost and dirt. Then, add your seeds. Be sure to sow them sparingly, without adding too many per container, usually 2 or 3 will suffice.

Next, cover the seeds with a thin layer of potting soil. Most seed packages will instruct how deep the seeds need to be planted, but most times a very light layer of soil will suffice. Lastly, mist the top layer with a spray bottle full of room-temperature water.

If the soil is too cold, the seeds might not germinate. Some choose to purchase a heat mat to place under the containers, others simply use a space heater or sit them on top of a warm appliance. While the seeds are beginning to germinate, covering them with plastic wrap will help keep a nice amount of humidity and heat above the soil. Once they start to sprout, remove the plastic wrap. 

Soggy, wet soil will potentially cause the seeds to rot. Using a misting spray bottle will gives more control over the amount of water being used and prevents flooding out the seeds.  

Label. Do not forget to label your seeds. I once forgot to label my seeds and it's not a mistake I'll make again. I don't know about you, but I can't tell the difference between a broccoli or a pepper seedling!

To help the plants become hardy and strong, I recommend using either a box fan or a small table fan. Postition it near your seedlings set on low to get the air moving, which simulates air movement as if they were planted outside. This way, the seedlings will grow with nice strong stems and it will be less of a shock when they're transpanted to the garden outside.

Next month, we'll delve into how to transplant your little friends. Subscribe by email to stay tuned! 


No comments:

Post a Comment

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...