I started my seedlings this week: tomatos, winter and summer squash, pumpkins and a few edible flowers like nasturtiums. I set everything up in the kitchen, which, let me tell you, felt incredibly luxurious compared to the greenhouse last April. Having heat, and running water (ahem, a bathroom), is amazing for this somewhat messy/dexterous job. To keep it relatively clean, you could put a towel down where your working, but I found that being organized and planning out the steps in advance (plus, did I mention the running water?) really helped.
First things first – gather ye materials. You will need:
- A big bowl for mixing potting / seedling mix and water
- Seedling / potting mix / compost if you can get some
- A watering can – or the kitchen sink
- Seeds (preferably untreated)
- Sticks for identifying who’s who.
- Seedling trays and covers
- Grow lights
Combine water and potting mix in your bowl until the soil is moist enough to stick together, and hold water when you squeeze it. You don’t want the soil to be dripping, but it should clump and crumble. From there, pour the soil into the trays just like cake batter into a mold and spread it out with your hands until each plug is filled to the brim. Do not press down or compact the soil. You want it to be light and fluffy.
Next, choose the seeds you want to sew. I figure out ahead of time how many of each plant I want to have in my garden and start an additional 2 or 3 for safety. Using my sticks that have already been labeled with the variety of plant, as well as how many, I insert the markers so that I know which seeds are going where. I just used the plastic markers because it’s what I had in the house, but for some very chic and reusable beauties, check out this post at Design Sponge: 25 Great Plant Markers
To sew the seeds, lightly press down with your finger into the centre of the plug and drop in 2-3 seeds. Lightly cover with soil. To save time you can make all the holes at once, followed by dropping in the seeds, and then covering them. It also helps to keep things clean, if you’re doing this in your kitchen. Give the tray one more even water and you’re good to set them under your grow lights.
Make sure to check on your seedlings at least 2x a day, and water them as needed. Remember, in order for the seeds to germinate they need heat and moisture. Depending on what you’re growing, you should have little green shoots in 5-10 days. Good luck!