Your seeds have been ordered. The next step is to figure our which seeds need to be started inside. Here are a few tips for seed starting inside.
When To Start Your Seeds
First you need to read the back of your seed packets. Many seeds like beans, peas, lettuce and carrots can be planted directly into the garden once the soil has warmed up enough. Other seeds like tomatoes and peppers need to be started ahead of time. Tomatoes and peppers are usually started about 6-8 weeks before planting time. This gives the plants time to get established and gives you a better chance for a good harvest.
Once you’ve determined when you need to start your seeds inside the next step is to either make your own seed starting mixture or purchase a commercial mix. I have always made my own seed starting mixture. It is very easy and makes enough to start all my seeds with some leftover!
This is my recipe for making my own seed starting mix:
1 part sterilized garden loam or topsoil
1 part coarse sand or perlite
1 part peat moss
Combine the three ingredients and mix well. Store in an airtight container.
Making Your Own Seed Starting Mixture
Starting seeds inside is very simple. My husband made me a simple plywood table which I use as a grow table. It just fits my two grow lights and when I placed it in front of our kitchen window it was the perfect place to start my seeds.
Planting Your Seeds
One rule of thumb is to plant the seeds 2-3 times as deep as the seed is wide. Leek and onion seeds are rather small and are pretty much sprinkled on the top of the soil.
Use only the best seeds. Old seeds or seeds that have not been stored properly may not germinate. If you have time do a seed germination test to determine the viability of your seeds. Check my video on the seed viability test I did on some pepper and tomato seeds.
Care of your Seeds
Once my seeds are planted I make sure the soil is moist. One way to do this is to fill a plastic bin with water and float the pot in it until the surface is damp. I then label each container with the date and the name of the plant. This will help me keep track of how many days it took the seeds to germinate and will also help me when it comes time to plant the vegetable plants in the garden. I may be able to tell leeks from broccoli, but it is very important to keep track of the variety of peppers and tomatoes.
Cover the seeds with a plastic or glass cover to create a mini greenhouse. You need to keep the seeds warm; a heating pad may be necessary. You do not need a grow light until the seeds sprout. Once you see the first seed sprouting remove the cover and place under your grow light. Keep a close eye on the seedlings, as you don’t want them to dry out.
Starting seeds is an easy process. It is always a good feeling when it’s time to start your seeds. It’s a good sign that spring can’t be far behind and soon you will be working outside in the garden.