Spring is here! According to the calendar anyway. . .
It’s time to plant some seeds!
Here are some easy steps to start seeds indoors:
1. Figure out when to sow your seeds.
Visit the Old Farmer’s Almanac website. You can enter your zip code and the site will tell you the best range of days to plant your seeds indoors and outdoors, as well as when to transplant seedlings outside. (The sowing seed page is different from the transplant page.) The specificity of the website is great. I didn’t have to keep asking my friends who garden, “Have you planted your seeds yet? Have you planted your seeds yet?” Almanac.com said to sow my tomato seeds indoors March 1-8, so I did. I wish more things in my life were that easy.
(F.Y.I. Just because it says moon-favorable dates, doesn’t mean you have to go outside in your pj’s and slippers to plant your green peppers! You can plant them in the daytime.)
2. Buy your seeds.
I recommend buying your seeds from a local reputable distributor instead of box stores to ensure that you get non-GMO seeds and ones that are recommended specifically for your location. (This probably means you will buy them online.) I bought mine from Southern Exposure Seed Exchange.
3. Buy good quality seedling mix and save the potting mix for later. The bags specifically intended for sowing seeds are made of vermiculite and peat, which provide the optimal growing conditions for the seeds to germinate.
4. Buy and clean/sterilize the pots or seed trays.
5. Water the seedling mix before adding the seed. Plant the seed according to the package directions.
6. Cover seed pots with a Ziploc bag to keep in warmth. Once the seed sprouts, remove the bag.
7. Place the seed containers on a tray or plate. I have found that watering from the bottom works really well. The plants soak up the water that they need and you don’t have to worry about over-watering or under-watering.
8. The seedlings like temperatures in the 65-75 degree range and 12-16 hours of light a day. If you can, place them in a warm place with as much light as possible. If you don’t have an artificial florescent light and you’re relying on sunlight, make sure you turn the seedlings periodically so they don’t grow all wonky.
9. After the seedling grows its true leaves, you can transplant to a bigger container with some potting mix. Hold it by the rootball/dirt, never by the stem! A plastic spoon works great for lifting the seedling out without damaging it.
10. Fertilize with diluted fertilizer (1/4 the normal strength) when the seed germinates and then every 1-2 weeks after that.
I don’t know about you, but I am already anticipating some juicy homegrown tomatoes!