Is it spring yet?!

Spring can not come soon enough! With all this snow it is making me look forward to warmer temperatures! I am already planning my garden for the year. Soon I will be planting seeds in my indoor green house. While most gardeners prefer to start their garden with plants that they got from the store, I love starting mine from scratch by starting my own seeds. Here are a few tips and tricks to starting your own garden this year.download

What you will need:
Growing medium
Containers
Light
Warmth
Water
Attention

Growing Medium: Starting seeds is not as easy as it sounds. Having the right seed starting soil is vital if you want your seeds to sprout. You don’t want it too wet or too dry and you want the soil to be too dense and packed or the young roots wont be able to break through the spoil and grow. There are different options for seed starting soil. You can get a bagged soil and put it in individual containers or you can use seed starting pods that have the right amount of soil in them for each “baby plant.”

Containers: Seed starting pods are much easier to use. Most of them are self contained and all you need is a tray to put them on so the extra water doesn’t get all over the place. Bagged potting soil, not so easy. You are going to need containers to keep it all contained. Don’t feel like you have to be limited to “seed starting trays” to start your seeds. There are many different containers you can use. Are you a Keurig user? Save and clean out your used k-cups to start seeds in. Egg shells are also a great container to start your seeds in. They are the most eco friendly choice for sure! Lastly you can use bio degradable “pots” to start your seeds in. The only draw back with using the biodegradable pots is that keeping the moisture consistent can be a challenge because they tend to be larger.

Warmth: It isn’t light that makes your seeds spout, it is the soil temperature. While sunlight does warm the soil, it is important to make sure the soil stays warm enough for the seeds to spout. Greenhouses provide that warmth. The “seed starting trays” are a mini green house of sorts keeping the warmth in. You might need to use a warming mat to keep the soil warm if you do not have a green house or seed starting tray.
IMG_2136Light: We all learn in elementary school that plants need light to grow. While light is not super important to have before your seeds sprout, it is very important once the little seedlings emerge. A south facing window will do the job, but if you don’t have a window with a lot of light then you will need to purchase lights that give off artificial sun light.

Water: Another one of those elementary school concepts we all learn about, but it Oh so important to your seedlings is good ol’ H2O. Keeping the soil wet is important. Don’t be over zealous in watering your plants. It is better to mist your plants daily with a spray bottle than pouring water on them directly. The young plants are fragile and too much water can damage them easily.

Attention: No, your plants won’t need to be taken for a walk but they will need to be

Zucchini seedling by Ariel Weinman

checked on everyday. There are some questions you should ask everyday when checking on your new plants. The first question “Do they need more water?” As mentioned above, moisture is so important to new plants but too much will harm more than help them. The next question “are my seedlings getting enough light?” That seems like it might be hard to tell but you can tell by looking at the plants. Plants will grow toward light. If they are not getting enough light the will start “crawling” toward light or turning that direction. Plants growing straight up are probably getting plenty of light. The last question is “is there any mold on my plants or soil?” Mold and mildew LOVE moisture. Since your soil will always be wet, it becomes a perfect storm for mold which can kill plants. Make sure there is plenty of air movement in the area where you have your seedlings. This will prevent mold and mildew in your planters.

Happy Gardening!

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