3.02.2011

Growing From Seed, Step-by-Step

Growing from seeds can be intimidating.  I too was overwhelmed by the thought of expensive equipment and the fancy fifty-dollar words these professional gardeners threw around.  But after spending way too much money in garden centers on plants, I took a leap of faith and decided to try to grow my own.  I figured I would start my seeds in late winter, and if by planting time they were unhealthy or dead, I'd head to the garden center to buy ready-made plants.  But lo and behold!  They were a success!  Furthermore, I am able to pick and choose what varieties I want in my garden.  Tomatoes alone have hundreds of kinds available.  You can have every color under the sun - red, yellow, orange, green, purple, brown, pink, striped, and multi.  There are grape, cherry, roma, slicing, paste, and burgers.  And let's not forget about the heirlooms with creative names such as Mortgage Lifter, Mr. Stripey, Cherokee Purple, and Grandfather Ashlock.  I want to show how easy and inexpensive it can be to fill your garden with amazing and unusual fruits and veggies.

Growing From Seeds
Below is a photo of the basics you'll need to get started.  These are the supplies I use but feel free to substitute as you see fit.

  • Peat pots 
  • Trays with domes
  • Mister (I bought a spray bottle for $1)
  • Organic Seed Starting Mix
  • Tags with a permanent marker
  • Seeds (duh!)




1.  Find out the last frost date for your location.  
2.  Look at your seed packets to determine how soon to start them indoors.  For example, my frost-free date is May 2.  The seed packet for my Fourth of July tomatoes say to start indoors 6-8 weeks before outdoor planting time.  So I will start my seeds between March 7 - 26.  
3.  Fill your peat pots with seed starter mix, gently compressing as you go.  You do not want your starter mix compacted like a brick, nor should it be loosey-goosey.


4.  Mist the starter mix with warm water to moisten well.


You do not want to saturate the soil.  Do not use hot or cold water.  Tepid water will help warm up the interior of your new greenhouse.


5. Check the planting depth on the seed packet.  For my Fourth of July tomatoes, I will sow the seeds  1/4" deep.  Place seeds on top of starter mix.  Cover with the amount of soil necessary and gently press down.  Mist again lightly, being careful not to blow the starter mix off your seeds.


6. Put the dome on top and place in a sunny window, preferably south-facing.  When the seedlings pop out, eschew the dome top.  Once all of the seedlings have emerged from the starter mix, remove the top and watch them grow into gorgeous plants!


Be sure to check the moisture level daily with all of your seeds.  You want them moist but not dripping wet.  I mist the seedlings gently when they are young and tender, as well as pour warm water directly into the tray to water from the bottom.  Be careful if you need to move your peat pots because as they get and stay wet, they will tear apart easily.

1 comment:

Faith said...

Great info. I love the pictures you have up.