I started some seeds inside my home earlier this year to prepare for the gardening season. Starting plants is easy and economical. It saves you money to start your plants yourself instead of buying plants from the store. Plus, you can grow organic plants at a fraction of the cost of buying organic produce in the store. Here is how I start plants. You can save this information to save money next year starting plants instead of buying them.
First, you need high quality soil. I use BACTO professional soil that I can pick up at a local nursery.
Fill six-cell planters with soil to the top. You can get these at any nursery, hardware store, or big box store.
Plant one seed in each cell. If you want to start a lot of plants you can plant more seeds per cell per the recommended amount listed on the seed packet, but then you need to separate after they grow a little and re-plant in individual cells. I don’t have a lot of room, so I only plant one seed per cell. Then, cover the soil with the recommended amount of soil, which is also stated on the seed packet.
Make sure you label each cell with a popsicle stick. Write the name of the plant and how many days it takes to grow on the stick. When you transplant your plants into your garden, you can stick the popsicle stick in the ground next to the plants outside and you will know how many days it takes for the plant to mature. Water your started seeds well. I use a little watering can a friend gave me.
Place your planted six-cell containers into a flat. You can find these at any store that sells gardening supplies. Place a clear lid on top until the seeds germinate and poke through the soil.
Place on a shelf with a 4 ft. flourescent light as close as possible to the lid. This is to keep the soil and seeds warm so they germinate. Turn the light on when you wake up in the morning and turn the light off when you go to bed. Once the seeds start poking through the soil, take the lid off and lower the light so it is very close to the plant, but not touching. Check the soil often to see if it needs watering.
VERY IMPORTANT: Write down when you started your plants in a notebook. It is very important to take notes on start times. You can refer to the seed packet so you know when to transplant into your garden, so save the seed packets!
That’s it! I have metal shelves that I bought at Home Depot that I put my started plants on. These are easy to hang the lights from and fit four flats on each shelf. I use Johnny Seeds and buy organic seeds. Their catalogs are great and tell you exactly what to do with your plants. If you aren’t ready to start seeds yourself yet, order the Johnny’s Seed catalog (it’s free) and start looking at what kinds of plants you might want to grow. There are many plants that you can direct seed in the ground (instead of starting early in the home.) Types of vegetables you can directly seed in the garden are zucchini, green beans, snap peas, beets, and many more. Johnny’s Seed Catalog has LOTS of information to learn about gardening.