Indoor Seed Staring (Part 2)


Planting seeds indoors is easier than you may think. (I say this speaking from experience).  My favorite part is that your choices of vegetables can be endless.  Instead of selecting from a few plants in the spring at a greenhouse you can order seeds (or buy them at a store) and get the variety of vegetables you choose.

NOTE: Not all seeds will be started indoors.  Check the back of your seed packets for instructions.  Many seeds such as: beans, beets, carrots, corn, peas, radishes, spinach, and winter squash are to be directly sown outside on their planting date because they don't transplant well.

1. Seeds
2. Organic plant food
3. Plant labels (can be handmade)
4. Potting Mix (soil-less mix) *see below for mix
5. Heat Mat (optional)

STEP 1:  Clean trays with bleach solution. If you are re-using planting containers or yogurt cups make sure to clean them first using a 1 part bleach to 10 parts water.  Its very important that containers are disinfected! This helps prevent damping off which kills seedlings.  Let the containers dry thoroughly before using.

Cleaning plant trays

STEP 2:  You want to place your pots, yogurt cups or plant containers in trays so they are easy to bottom water.  (I will review bottom watering at the end of this post.)

Pots in trays with labels
STEP 3: Label all your pots.  Trust me you won't remember what is what when you are adding the seeds.

STEP 4:  Mix your potting soil (soiless mix) made up of the following:

 Soil-less Mix
2 parts Peat Moss
1 part Vermiculite*
1 part Perlite
*this is found at your hardware store in the insulation area

Put all ingredients in clean container to mix
NOTE: Make sure your soil is sterile don't use soil from your garden.  Mix your soil in a clean container that has been cleaned with the bleach solution or a store bought new container.  

STEP 5: Add the water as you mix and give it time to moisten the ingredients.  The soil-less mix should be moist but not soaking wet. 

STEP 6: Fill each pot, yogurt cup or plant container with soil leaving 1/2" at the top.   

Soil ready for seeds
Marking a label with planting depths
STEP 7: Determine how deep to plant the seeds. Read the back of each individual seed packet for instructions on the depth to use for each type of seed. 

STEP 8: Place a plastic cover or plastic wrap over your pots, trays or yogurt cups. 

Adding plastic cover to tray
STEP 9: Place the tray on a heat mat (optional) and check each day.  Once you see the majority of the seeds have sprouted remove the top plastic cover and the heat mat.  Keep the plants under your florescent grow lights (for 16 hours each day) and bottom water them every 2 days or so.  

Choosing Containers: 
Coconut Coir Pots: I plant the peppers and eggplants in coconut coir pots because when I plant them I can just plant the pot. These vegetables grow best if you disturb the roots as little as possible.  

Plastic 3" x 3" square containers: I plant our tomatoes in these containers because they are a larger plant.  Then I don't have to transplant them to a larger container.

Plastic 1- 1/2" x 1- 1/2" square containers: I plant herbs, flowers, lettuce, & smaller vegetables in these containers. 

More details to come on when to start what type of vegetables indoors (timetable wise!)  

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