Thursday, February 15, 2018

How to Start Seeds Indoors

Last year when I started seedlings I started them all at once without much of a plan.  This wasn’t a huge issue, except all my tomato, pepper, and eggplants flowered and went to fruit about the same time.  This meant I had to harvest and start canning in order to use up my plants before the squirrels got to them.

This year, I plan on growing my plants in shifts.  Once every two weeks I will start a handful of seedlings in order to enjoy my plants throughout the season instead of harvesting all at once.  Planting in shifts will also help me have a good idea of how may plants I have and not plant too many.  I live in zone 6a, therefore I start my seeds indoors in February!  Today I’m planting tomatoes, eggplant, peppers, arugala, basil, and cilantro.

Here are a few steps to plant your own seedlings indoors:

First, decide which seeds to plant! 

1.  Find your options - I went through my seed stash to see what I already had on hand, but most stores start stocking seeds at the end of January, early February.  You could also order seeds from online vendors.

2.  Calculate when to plant -  I turned over the seed packets to look at when they should be transplanted outside and how long the seeds should be indoors before transplanted and do the math backwards!  Use a calendar to help you calculate the number of weeks. 

3.  Decide how many of each to start – I decided I want to start a few seedlings this week, and a few more next week, so I started about four seedlings of each type. 

Second, decide how to plant the seedlings!  For my first set of seedlings, I decided to use Jiffy Windowsill Greenhouses, one new and one using refill pods.  When using kits, make sure you follow the directions. 

If using soil or refill pods, the goal is to make the soil extremely moist.  I let my pods soak fully for a solid twenty minutes before pouring out the excess.  Once the soil is ready to go, you just need to place the seeds as low into the pods as the back of the seed packets suggest.  If you aren’t using seed packets, I try to get the seeds about half an inch into the soil.  I use a nail to make a hole in the soil and then drop the seeds in! 

Third, make sure you label the pods which the seed type because it is hard to tell which type of plant is which until real leaves grow.     

Be patient with seeds, they can take a week and a half to show any activity because they are growing in the soil.  Growing a quick sprouting seed like arugala is fantastic to start with because you see results fairly quickly!  Here is a look at my week old arugala seeds.

Make sure you follow along on my Instagram or Facebook page where update photos are posted regularly!   

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