STARTING SEEDS INDOORS Throughout late winter and early spring start seeds indoors.
Step 1 Getting started: Collect the supplies listed above. Double check all containers you have chosen have adequate drainage to prevent water logged roots. A variety of containers is ideal. Some plants don't like to be disturbed when transplanted therefore single cell packs are great for the sensitive plants. The soil chosen for seed starting should be loose and airy. This allows for air and room which the seeds need to germinate and grow strong roots. Many home and garden centers carry seed starting soil mixtures.
Step 2 Filling containers with soil: Fill the containers loosely with soil and then add water to the soil mixture till good and damp. Make sure to moisten soil before adding your seeds! This prevents the seed from getting drained to one side from a heavy watering.
Step 3 Sowing the seeds: When you have chosen the seeds you want to sow, read the seed packets information on how deep to plant the seed in the soil mixture. Follow the seed packet's sowing guide. This is important because, different size seeds need different planting depths, and some seeds need light to germinate; therefore certain seeds shouldn't have any soil covering them. Always sow seeds thinly. You don't want the seedlings to be overcrowded causing weak growth and spindly seedlings.
Step 3 Watering: After setting seeds at the right depth I like to give them a misting with a spray bottle. Always keep the seeds damp. Don't allow the soil to dry completely out. Again, I like to use a spray bottle which allows for a light sprinkling on the soil that won't disturb the seeds, while keeping the seeds damp but not drenched!
Step 5 Keep containers in a warm area: Place the containers in a warm place. I use a sunny window sill. Usually a south facing window is great for a heat source in the winter and early spring.
Step 6 Light source for seedlings: When your seeds sprout they need light. I use the window with the most light and heat. Place trays in the sunbeam for a great source of light. Some gardeners like to use grow lights for a light source, these can be found at local home and garden centers. Remember heat and light will dry out soil faster. Always keep evenly moist.
Step 7 Transplant seedlings to larger pots: After the seedlings have produced a second pair of leaves known as their 'true leaves' transplant them into a larger pot. This will provide more room for growth. Again good drainage is important. Fill pots loosely with fresh soil. Moisten soil first before transplanting. Now it is time to remove seedling from the growing trays. I use a fork to remove the seedling. Gently trying to keep some soil attached to roots ease out seedlings. Place seedling into pot and then fill around root loosely with more fresh soil till it is full to the original soil height it was at before transplanting.
Step 8 Caring for seedlings: Continue to keep seedlings moist in a warm, and sunny place till more true leaves have grown. You can feed the seedlings at this point with a house hold plant food. Follow instructions provided on the plant food you are going to use. Don't over feed!
Step 9 Hardening off seedlings: The seedlings need to slowly adjust to the outdoors before transplanting them in your garden. Stop feeding seedlings a couple of weeks before hardening off. I start hardening off my seedlings when the risk of frost has past. To begin, place seedlings in a sheltered area outside in the daytime and bring back indoors for the night. Over a week to two weeks let the seedlings slowly stay outside longer each evening. This will gradually lead them up to staying outside all night without shock. After one to two weeks of hardening off is done you can transplant your seedlings into the garden.
Step 10 Transplant outdoors and enjoy: Transplant the seedlings into their new homes. To prevent added stress to transplanting, keep plants moist during the transition period so plants can grow healthy and strong.
Be proud and enjoy the beautiful flowers your seedlings have grown into!
Seed Starting- In late winter and early spring gardeners are usually anxious to get out in the garden, and are looking forward to another season tending their flowers. Whether you are a gardener who just wants to get a head start in the growing season, or you want to try a new hobby; sowing seeds indoors is a wonderful start. I find that tending to and watching for that first sprout somehow allows a refreshing start to summer and a mind full of energy. Starting seeds indoors is a learning experience for most. Different indoor growing conditions play a big role in the success of your seeds. See what works best for you and don't get discouraged, the rewards can be endless! Here is a simple guide to starting seeds indoors. GIVE IT A TRY!
Supplies for seed starting: Loose all purpose mixture or actual seed starting mixture.
Containers with good drainage. Ideas for containers: plastic flats, single cell plastic packs, peat pots, larger pots for transplanting seedlings into.