How and when you prepare for starting your vegetable and flower seeds indoors can make all the difference between great success, or frustrating disappointment.
Contrary to popular belief, starting plants from seed isn’t complicated. Nor does it have to be expensive or time-consuming. But what it does take is a little planning to ensure you have everything you need in place when the time for planting arrives.
That means ordering seeds early to allow plenty of time for delivery. And, making sure you have seed containers, seed-starting soil, proper lighting and more at the ready.
So the earlier you prepare the better. Especially with how hard it can be these days to find supplies! Here is a look at 4 key seed starting supplies to make sure you have on hand to start your plants with gusto.
Preparing To Start Seeds Indoors – 4 Big Keys To Success!
#1 Seeds – Why Ordering Seeds Early Is Important
Ordering seeds will ensure you get the quantities and varieties of seed you want. But more importantly, it means you will have them on hand in plenty of time to get them started.
Vegetable and flower seedlings need anywhere from 8 to 10 weeks of growth before they are ready to transplant outdoors. And that doesn’t include the 7 to 14 days they need to germinate and sprout.
It all starts with knowing what you want to grow. And – how much you want to grow of each vegetable or flower. Take time now to jot down what you want to grow and where. From there, create a list of which you will be growing from seed, and order them now! (See: Wintertime Garden Planning)
#2 Seed Starting Mix – Preparing To Start Seeds Indoors
Having a quality seed starting mix is vital to growing strong, healthy vegetable and flower plants. A great seed starting mix should be light, airy, and contain plenty of nutrients to feed young seedlings.
Avoid using straight potting soil, as it is usually too heavy for seeds as they grow. Seed starting mixes, as opposed to potting soil, are much lighter and make it easier for seeds to germinate and establish strong roots.
If purchasing a commercial seed-starting mix, be sure it contains soil-aerating ingredients such as perlite or vermiculite. These help to lighten the soil, and allow young roots to grow easily and absorb moisture.
In addition, look for mixes that contain pulverized compost or organic fertilizers. These are fantastic for powering young seedlings with a slow trickle of nutrients that encourage steady growth. (Product Link : Black Gold Seedling Mix)
You can also create a great seed starting mix quite easily at home. To make, use 2 cups of potting soil, and mix with 1 cup each of perlite and worm castings or pulverized compost.
Worm castings are excellent additions to seed starting soil mixes. Not only do they provide a source of nutrients for young seedlings, they also help to conserve moisture in the soil.
#3 Seed Trays & Pots – Preparing To Start Seeds Indoors
In addition to soil and seeds, you will need seed trays or pots to grow your seedlings in.
The possibilities for homemade solutions are endless. Cardboard egg cartons, egg shells, yogurt containers, and even toilet paper rolls all make excellent homemade seed starting vessels. (See : 3 Great Ways To Make Homemade Seed Containers)
If purchasing seed trays and packets, there are many options to choose from. Although you can find trays that can start up to 72 plants, using trays with a larger space for each plant can save you from having to transplant.
Trays that hold 32 plants are usually more than large enough to grow a plant from seed to the garden without the worry of having to transplant again.
#4 Provide Proper Lighting – Why Windowsill’s Are A Bad Idea
Finally, it is extremely important when preparing your indoor seed starting supplies to think about lighting. And unfortunately, a sunny windowsill is not the answer!
The “sunny windowsill” method is quite simply a recipe for seedling disaster. Plants grown in sunny window light end up weak and spindly.
They are constantly reaching for the far away light of the sun. It results in seedlings that are tall, thin, and unable to handle the stress of transplanting when it comes time to plant outdoors.
The good news – you don’t need expensive grow lights to grow seedlings! Standard fluorescent or LED shop lights actually work great for raising vegetable and flower seedlings.
The cool bright lights of these bulbs, when placed an inch or so above the tops of the plants, work great for growing strong and healthy plants.
It is an inexpensive solution to high-priced growing lights. When it comes to starting seeds, they are simply not needed. Here is to preparing to start you seeds indoors – and to a great garden season to come!
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