I got a week or two behind on my seed-starting this year. You see, this is the first time I’ve started my garden entirely from seeds (last year, we bought seedlings in June that were ready to go straight into the ground). The chilly weather tricked me into thinking it was too early to start planting. Oops!
In the long run, I don’t think it will be a huge deal. If the seedlings don’t look big, strong or healthy enough come the “plant outside” date, I’ll keep them under the grow light for a few more days.
Yesterday, I prepped my pepper plants. This weekend I’ll turn my focus to basil and tomatoes.
(I highly recommend using the seed-starting chart found here to figure out when to start your plants!)
The process was incredibly easy. Here’s what you’ll need to start your own heat-loving plants (excluding the yet-to-be-unpacked box of glasses in the background):
- Seeds. I have three varieties of peppers this year.
- Containers. I bought these little pull-apart garden containers at the hardware store for 90 cents for 16. But yogurt containers, etc would also work! Just make sure there are a few holes in the bottom for the water to drain out.
- Flat material to catch water drainage. Ideally, a plastic tray to help hold in some of the moisture. But since I didn’t have that, I used a piece of cardboard instead.
- Seed starting mix. Do NOT use regular garden soil…your seeds won’t get enough oxygen and will suffocate.
- Water. Yes, that’s a Kool-Aid Man cup from Dan’s childhood. And yes, a spray bottle would be better, but I still need to go get one!
- Labeling sticks + a marker. I got a set of 8 plastic labels for about 50 cents at the hardware store.
How to Do It:
1. Fill each container up to about 1/4″-1/2″ from the top.
2. Lightly press down the soil with your fingers.
3. Place one seed on top of each section of soil, and cover with the amount of soil indicated on the seed package. For the peppers, the seeds were supposed to be 1/4″ deep, so that’s how much I covered them.
4. Label your rows of seeds so you don’t forget what’s what!
5. Set the containers on top of your piece of cardboard.
6. Water lightly. The soil should be just damp.
7. Place in a warm spot in your house so that the soil is about 75-85F (for peppers and tomatoes). I put mine on top of the refrigerator to collect some of the heat it generates!
8. Lightly mist the soil with water as needed. The soil should be just damp, not soaked through.
9. When the seedlings start to poke out from the soil, it is time to put them in a greenhouse, under a grown light, or in a sunny window so that they get plenty of light!