It’s time to plant your seeds, peeps!
Okay, here’s how I plant my seeds inside in early Spring for later transplant into my garden.
What I use:
Garden plan – I need to know how many plants I want to grow. See: You Mean I Actually Have to PLAN a Garden? My first year I went crazy and planted extras thinking I would find room for them. There’s no room. I was begging people to take my plants. Plus it costs money for all that potting soil later. Now I only plant what I need, maybe a couple extra.
Seeds – I make sure I know when to plant them. See: When Do I Plant These Seeds, Yo?
Seed Starter mix – You can use potting soil, but I always use this stuff. I read that it doesn’t have any nutrients in it, so you need to give it some fertilizer later, which I do. And don’t be dumb like me and go buying three bags of seed starter. When you need to transplant to a bigger pot, you’ll need potting soil, not seed starter. I bought three bags of seed starter three years ago and I still have two and half bags.
Peat pots or plastic seed flats – I use both. Peat pots allow you to just transplant the entire pot right into the ground, thereby reducing transplant shock (I’ve never really had a problem with this. I think it depends on the plant). The roots penetrate the walls of the pot and then the pot disintegrates, leaving you with the peat that enriches the soil (I googled that part). I also use the plastic flats because they come with my tray and dome.
Plastic tray with clear dome – This is a handy way to keep all my seedlings together. It makes it easier to water them and the dome keeps the moisture inside.
Seed Markers and permanent ink pen – I record what I planted where unless because it’s hard to identify seedling leaves when they’re still babies.
Items for mixing the soil starter: A spoon from my kitchen (tablespoon size) – don’t tell my husband – large cup or bowl (I use a large plain Greek yogurt cup that’s going on its third year, but feel free to use any kind of mixing container), and water.
1. I set up my pots/flats in the tray and write the plant names on the markers.
2. I put my seed starter in my Greek yogurt cup. I mix in some water until it’s moist, but not sopping wet. The first time I used seed starter I filled all the little cups on my plastic flat with the seed starter and then poured water in. That didn’t work. The seed starter repels water like I wish my stupid all-natural bug spray repelled mosquitoes. So I had to mix each little cup individually – what a pain. I ended up spraying the tray with a mister, but it took for-evah! Just mix it all up in a bowl…or Greek yogurt cup.
3. I scoop the moist, not sopping, seed starter into the pots. I put one to three seeds in every pot and insert the marker. I make sure that if I use pots or flats that are attached to each other that I either split them up ahead of time or I make sure to plant seeds with similar germinating times next to each other. (Germinating is a fancy word for green part sprouting out the of the seed. It makes me feel like I know what I’m talking about, so I use it.) Pepper plants can take two weeks to sprout, so I make sure they’re not in pots attached to tomatoes which take much less time.
4. I follow the directions on the seed packet about how deep to plant the seeds. Then I put the dome on.
5. I put the tray on top of my refrigerator for warmth, until they sprout. I check them everyday to make sure they’re moist enough. If they look like they’re dry then I spray them with a spray bottle, so I don’t drown them.
I also check for sprouting. Once the seeds have sprouted (green poking up through the dirt) then I move them to my homemade grow light system. I’ll show you how I made my light system next time. I can’t put all this goodness in one post.
Overall, it’s pretty simple to plant seeds if you have the right materials. It makes a mess, so lay down some newspaper or plant them in an area where you don’t care about messes. Also, this is a great thing to let your kids help with. Just remember the mess part.