Friday, February 25, 2011

Starting seeds indoors

It may still be cold and snowy, but now is the time when I start planting my seeds indoors for the garden.  I've been starting seeds indoors for years, and generally have been pretty successful.  I started my lettuce a little earlier than usual this year, but I want to plant it outside sooner than I usually do.  I have row covers for frost protection, so they should be OK if I put them outside in March.  I also started my sweet Bell Pepper and my Eggplant seeds this week.  They take longer to mature and produce vegetables, so I want to get them started as soon as possible.  They won't go outside until May, maybe late April if I have enough Kozy Coats. You fill the tubes with water, which warms in the sun.  The plant stays nice and cozy warm, even when the temperature outside drops.
This year I'm starting some of my seeds using the bottom of paper egg cartons.  I filled each cell with seed starting mix and set the entire thing in a basin af warm water.  The carton and seed starting mix soak up as much water as they need.  Then I put the carton in a dry basin, add the seeds, and cover lightly with more starting mix.  When it needs water I just add water to the basin and it's soaked up as needed.  That way I don't disturb the seeds.
Once the roots start to grow through the bottom of the cups it's easy to separate each cup and plant the whole thing in a larger pot.  This way you don't have to disturb the delicate roots.  This year I'm using a spare closet for my plants.  The florescent plant light hangs on the curtain rod and I've set it up so I can use the entire closet to grow my plants.  The lettuce is doing quite well.  I moved it into larger pots after about two week.  I'm using plastic yogurt cups which I washed thoroughly.  It's very important to keep everything clean if you want to keep your seedlings healthy.  Now all the lettuce should be fine until I'm ready to plant it outdoors.  And by the time I do get it outside it should be strong enough to handle the weather.
So this is how my garden gets started.  And this really helps me get through the last month or two of winter!  I like to take care of my little plants and enjoy their fresh green colors and scents.  Plus it's SO much cheaper to start your own seeds than it is to buy plants at a nursery.  Buying seeds rather than plants allows me to plant a wider variety of vegetables, without blowing my budget.  Stay tuned to watch my little green seedlings turn into full grown plants full of delicious vegetables! =)
-Michelle of CreativeCritters

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