If you are starting your garden plants from seeds indoors, it’s time to get started (actually I probably should have had my Brussel sprouts started already – oops!). Are you wondering when to start your plants indoors? Check out the following link (http://www.almanac.com/gardening/planting-dates/states). Select your state and city, and a calendar of planting dates for each vegetable will pop-up to guide you in your plant starting dates. And, what are the benefits of starting your garden plants? You have a wider selection of seeds (different varieties) to choose from, and it’s an inexpensive way to start growing your own food.
You might also be asking “how many plants should I start”? I usually start more plants than I plan to use. Some seeds might not grow (germinate), and if they do all grow, I have plants to share with my neighbors and friends.
Let’s get started.
You will need a container to start your seeds (a “cell flat” with drainage holes that fits into a solid tray works great); some quality seeds , and some organic seed-starting mix. One of the products we like to use is Purple Cow. http://www.purplecoworganics.com/gardeners/organic-gardening-products/
Begin filling your cell flat (if you are reusing a cell flat from the previous year, soak flat in hot water – this will help remove the possibility of a plant disease hiding in your container) with seed-starting mix. Next, moisten the mix with water.
Now we are ready to place a seed in each cell. You can check out our “How Does Your Garden Grow” section found in our Eating Pure in a Processed Foods World® book for planting depth of each vegetable or follow the instructions on the seed packet. Plant each seed to its proper depth and cover with seed-starting mix. Firm the soil over the seed by pressing lightly (this ensures seed to soil contact).
Label and water.
Next you will want to place a clear plastic dome over the tray. This will allow the light to shine in and keep the heat and moisture from escaping. Remember to water frequently so seed-starting mix does not dry out.
You may want to purchase a heat mat (click here to see the one I have) to set your tray on to ensure optimal temperature.
The seedlings are now beginning to appear! How exciting!! When the seedlings begin to touch the top of the plastic dome, it’s time to replant in a larger container. Here is a little secret – after replanting seedling in a larger container, place an oscillating fan (low speed) on the plant during the day. This helps strengthen the stem of the plant and prepares the plant for the outdoor garden.