Indoor Seed Starting
Now that you've either saved your seeds from last year, bought them through a catalog, or gotten early seeds at the garden center, you can do some very early spring gardening. Seed starting indoors–or in a greenhouse–is a great way to get a jump on the growing season and early results in your garden.
Once you know the right amount of time in advance your planting date it's time to start some seeds indoors.
- First you need some soil. If you have compost, that's a good starter soil, but like to I add in a little peat moss, too. Vermiculite is optional, in my experience.
- Please remember to be ready to label your seedlings. Do not make any part of the labels out of paper as they will get wet and fade, rot, or otherwise fall apart. You can cut up a plastic drink cups into long, 1/2-inch wide slivers and write on the strips in marker. I write on crafts ice cream sticks. I save the labeled sticks for next year, too.
- Then, you need seed-starting pots.
You can make biodegradable ones out of newspaper, or use bathroom Dixie cups, or even styrofoam egg cartons (never paper egg cartons: they will disintigrate before you plant them and, yes, I found this out the hard way.)
Or you can do what I am doing this year and use a seed tray dome kit; if you're careful removing plants you can reuse one of these for many years. I bought mine last year after the growing season was over, for 90% off. Love that clearance aisle!
The dome is optional but acts as a greenhouse in that it keeps your plants warmer and moister. One year I made my own "dome" by putting plastic wrap loosely over my seed-starting tray; in this case it was yogurt cups (holes in the bottom of each) with those ice cream stick labels on a cookie tray. Be careful not to overwater inside a dome since it really holds in moisture. Plants can drown.
Note One big issue I've discovered is that tomatoes need lots and lots of sunlight. If you do not have a south, east, or southeast facing unobstructed window,for your seedlings, you're better of sowing the tomatoes directly into your garden.
I start green bell and jalapeno peppers, tomatoes, eggplant, squash and cukes indoors. How about you?
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