I love growing plants from seeds. Seeing a plant from start to finish is such a rewarding experience and you can grow so many plants not available at garden centers. Why not grow some purple carrots with your children or some black peppers for yourself? That’s what makes growing from seed so much fun.
You will need a few supplies to get you started. The best money spent is on a no hole tray and some inserts to grow your seeds. You can also buy a domed clear lid for faster germination. It’s like a miniature greenhouse in your home.
I like to use a seed starter mix for starting seeds. Garden soil is too heavy and may contain soil borne diseases that could attack your young seedlings. When growing plants, remember its all about the soil, feed it and plants will grow. The seed starter mix is very lightweight and easy for tiny seedlings to push their way through the soil surface. Be sure to moisten the mix before you plant the seeds. This will prevent tiny seeds from washing away when you water. I like to use a small watering can and I only water from the bottom once the seeds are planted.
You will also need some planting labels and a waterproof marker or china pencil. Labels can be made by recycling old margarine or yogurt containers and cutting them into strips to write on. Why not reuse something instead of spending money? You can also use stir sticks and popsicle sticks as labels. Many dollar stores sell popsicle sticks for a very good price compared to the regular plastic labels seen at garden centers. I find that using a laundry marker to label my seeds has worked for me. This marker doesn’t fade when rained or watered on and that’s a good thing. There is nothing worse than pulling a label out of a plant and seeing its faded too much to read. Been there, done that, lesson learned.
You will be surprised at how quickly some seeds germinate. All seeds have different germination times. Be sure to read the package directions on how to plant. You will need to space your seeds according to the package directions when planting outside but in cell packs it is different. In the tiny cell packs, I plant just one seed but in the larger packs above I plant four seeds. As they grow they will need to be potted up into larger pots.
The seed package has valuable information on the back. It will tell you the approximate time to sow your seeds inside and outside. For example, you would not start beans in February as they cannot go outside until June when the warmer weather arrives. The young plants will not need that much time to grow. Warm weather plants can wait until April to get started. Plants such as peas, broad beans and lettuce on the other hand can be planted in late February to early March and transplanted outside earlier as they are cool season plants. So get to know your plants and when to plant them. Consult planting charts such as the one in the West Coast Seeds Gardening Guide. It is a great resource for the gardens of the Pacific Northwest.
Once you have your supplies, getting planting! You will be so glad you did.