Thursday, April 1, 2010

Seed Starting- Indoors

There's nothing that helps you overcome the Winter Blues like planting seeds.  It's like planting a little wish.  

What you need:
  1. Little Pots (used latte cups)
  2. Sharpie/Marker
  3. Sharp thing to make holes in cups (Skewer)
  4. Seedling Mix
  5. Seeds
  6. Plastic tray
  7. Water

 Collect Pots
My husband works in cubicle-land with environmentally minded folks.  When they saw a growing pile of used Starbucks cups in his cube they gave him the evil "why don't you use a reusable mug for your coffee" look.  He would smile and say "oh, I'm saving cups to start vegetable seeds in."  His co-workers' hearts melted and his seed-cup collection grew quickly.  

Being in the PNW and this being a mild winter, we were able to start cool season crop seeds in January.  Things like cabbage, kale, broccoli, onions, parsley and mesclun. 

Poke holes in the bottom of the cups for drainage

Fill pots with soil medium  
There is a variety of seed starting mixes available.  They tend to be more expensive than potting soil so sometimes we make our own mixes.  

The basic ingredients of a seed starting mix are: peat or coir, perlite and vermiculite.
This is very sterile, but not nutritious, so after the seeds poke up we usually add compost.

Leave room at the top of the cups for watering and sprinkling extra compost in later.

Plant seeds

Sprinkle seeds in the cups according to the instructions on the back of the package.  Either poke a hole and drop a seed in or sprinkle the seeds in the cup and sprinkle soil on top.

Label your pots!!!
We like to write the name and date.

Put cups on a waterproof tray
We set the cups into a clear plastic bin (we use the type made for storing things under your bed).  It is shallow, long and narrow.  Perfect for setting on our window seat.

Place the tray of cups into a sunny window and water 

Keep the soil moist, but not drenched

After the seedlings emerge they'll usually have a long stem before their first set of leaves.  Fill soil in around the stem below the leaves to help make the seedling sturdier.

In late February we started tomato, pepper, eggplant and herb seeds in cups.

Next Topic:  Seed Starting- Outdoors

1 comment:

  1. We saved toilet paper rolls so they could be put directly into dirt without disturbing the seedlings. they will biodegrade and re enrich the soil.