A How-To For Seed Starting

| 3/21/2014 2:33:00 PM

Erin SheehanIt’s time to start seeds for your vegetable garden. Here are a few tips to get you started.

The first thing to consider is space. You’ll need a place warm enough for germination or some way to warm your containers. We bring a patio table into the living room. It makes for pretty tight quarters but it’s only for a few weeks. We keep our house on the cool side so to add heat we use a lamp with an old-fashioned light bulb underneath the table to heat it up. We also have two seed mats that I found at a church rummage sale. Seed mats are expensive but they do help. You could use a heating pad, but it will have to be an older one as modern heating pads have auto shut-off mechanisms.



The second thing you’ll have to track down is containers. If you haven’t been saving small plastic containers it’s time to start or ask friends for theirs. We start our seeds using old yogurt containers with holes in the bottom for drainage. Making the drainage holes is easy, just heat up a nail over your stove (hold it with a pair of pliers and hold those with insulated gloves) and push the nail right through the bottom of your containers. You can also use an electric drill if you have one.

You’ll need a way to catch water overflow and some plastic covering to create a greenhouse effect. We use old baking sheets and random plastic containers we collect throughout the year to catch water and Saran Wrap over the top until the seeds germinate.

3/23/2014 9:10:43 AM

Erin, my seeds have been started for a couple months. I have onions and cabbages under the grow lights. I planted a few out in the one prepared garden bed but Winter wasn't finished just yet and they are looking pretty frozen. I covered up the cabbages and they are not dead but still not real robust either. I'll give it another week to maybe have some warmer days and maybe replant. I always grow way more than I want to plant just for such weather events. I'm hoping to get the onions (oh, yeah, they're toast from the 23 degree morning yesterday) out of the seed starting station soon as I really need to start some tomatoes, green peppers, and eggplants. I have room for a tray of 50 starts so that will be sufficient for now with maybe another tray when they come off the heat matt. ***** I just love this time of the year with all the outside activity and everything comes to life. Gardening really brings the season change to the fore front. ***** Have a great seed starting day.

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