Its that time of year spring is in the air and everyone is itching to get busy outside. Although we can’t get to planting in the ground just yet we can begin preparations inside. Seed starting has been a difficult task in my few years of gardening. I grew up on a farm and we had a half acre garden. We grew everything but as I have continued this passion of growing my own food as an adult there are some struggles I have faced. Despite having a green thumb for a mom. Taking her advice I would still end up with leggy unhappy seeds that would not make it. So I scowered the Internet in pursuit of a full prof method. Here are my takeaways and what has worked for me.
The main goal is to have the right amount of light and water. You want to have a overhead light source that will keep the plants from leaning. They need to be positioned about 3-4 inches from the top of the plant and they will need to be adjusted as the plant grows. The plants needs about 15 hours of light a day to grow right. You could have a timer or manually turn them on when you wake and turn them of when you go to bed 15 hours later. What I do is have a timer set to allow the plants light consistently everyday for 15 hours so it’s one less thing I need to think about. The next key focus is water I always over or under water my plants which is not good either way. What works for me is having a spray bottle next to your seedlings. When you notice they are getting a little dry wait a half a day then come back and give them a spray just to dampen the soil. If you tend to forget though just do it right away. Another thing you could add to help insure you get healthy seedlings is set up a mini fan to give them good air circulation. Here are a list of supplies and steps I take when starting my seeds for the year.
- -Seed starting soil
- -Pods or any container to put the dirt and seeds in
- -Mini fan
- Grow light
- -Spray bottle
- -Liquid fertilizer
- Gather all the supplies you will need.
- Add soil and small amount of water to a bow and mix until it becomes crumbly this adds the initial moistness.
- Distribute the soil in the pods or containers lightly pressing but not making the soil compacted.
- Add the seeds to the pods according to the depth on the package. I usually add 2-3 seeds per pod and then thin them out about 2 weeks after they start growing. This insures I have a plant in each pod growing
- Place your container under your grow light I have my grow light in my under cabinet lighting to save on space. As you can see I use what ever I can find to prop them up so they are 3-4 inches from the light. I will remove an item as necessary to keep the plants at the right distance this keeps them from being leggy and falling over.
- Water right away and when you notice the soil getting dry using a spray bottle to keep from over watering. Water with fertilizer every week or two.
- Add a fan you can wait until the plants begin to grow for this but it will add the air circulation the plants need to stay healthy.
- When your plants are big enough you want to slowly introduce them to the outdoors if you do this too fast they will be shocked. start with a few hours then increase everyday a few hours more.
- tomato and pepper plants will likely need to be transplanted into larger pots before they are ready to go outside. You will know they are ready when the green is wider and twice as tall as the container they are in.
These are very basic yet important steps you will need to take when growing your seeds indoors. I hope this helps you get successful yields. Good luck to all of you non green thumb gardening enthusiasts out there 🙂