If you’re looking to give your garden a solid head start this year, you may want to consider starting your seeds indoors. There are a few easy steps to take and is a great way to give your plants a strong foundation before gardening season is in full swing.
Starting seeds indoors whether they are annual flowers or vegetables, starts with a good seedling starter soil or a light textured potting soil.
Next is finding the right kind of containers, not too big or not too small. The ideal container is one that is divided into cells and fits into a tray with a translucent dome to retain moisture. There are other containers that could be used, such as paper cups or egg cartons which work well for tiny seeds. Seedlings will grow well in containers that hold 3 to 4 ounces of soil. For DIY containers (such as the cups or egg cartons), be sure to punch drainage holes in the bottom and use plastic wrap over top to create a dome to retain moisture.
The next things you need to start germinating seeds is moisture, temperature and sometimes light.
Now that you have your perfect container. Fill them to the top with moistened soil, tap the soil down slightly to ensure there is no air pockets, add more soil if needed. Sow seeds to the depth that is suggested on the seed packets. If your seeds are very tiny, like petunia seeds, you can take a very small pinch of seeds and sprinkle on the top of the soil (less is better for small seeds) three to five seeds are ideal, gently and generously add moisture then cover with dome/plastic wrap. If your seeds are larger, like marigolds or melons, you can make a hole in the soil by pushing your finger into the first knuckle. Drop in a seed or two then pinch hole closed. Again gently and generously add moisture.
Once your seeds are all sown, place them in a warm area. In front of a warm window, heated sunroom, or as my mom use to do, put your tray on top of the refrigerator. Watch your soil for moisture every couple days, a spray bottle works great to put a mist on the soil if needed. Once you see your seeds germinate remove the dome/plastic wrap then place your trays in a warm, well lit area. Under grow lights works really well. Water gently as soil slightly dries and as needed. It is very important not to over water your seedlings. Your seedlings will develop it’s first set of leaves followed by a lull in action as the seedling switches it’s power source to develop it’s first true leaves and a flurry of new roots. Separate or thin out seedlings if they are crowded. You can use a seedling starter fertilizer once a set or two of true leaves develop. Water with fertilizer every 3rd or 4th watering, be sure not to mix your fertilizer stronger than recommended on the package. Now the fun is watching your little seedlings grow till there ready for transplanting.
Have fun, and if you have any questions or need supplies drop by Oakridge Greenhouse cover with dome/plastic wrap package and our staff will help you out.