It’s environmentally friendly, easy and cheap to grow your own food. As the ground thaws, it’s a great time to start planting, but certain crops require warmer soil. Cool weather crops like broccoli, spinach, peas and cauliflower can get planted early in the season, but it’s best to wait before planting much else outside.
That said, it’s a great time of year to plant inside. From flowers to pepper plants, many gardeners like to start from seed a few weeks ahead of the season. Whether you’re working in a sunny corner of your house or have a greenhouse, here are some ideas for starting seedlings indoors:
1. Plant in compostable containers. Those tiny plants have fragile root systems, so if you can transplant a seedling without removing it from the container, all the better. You can buy biodegradable containers at most hardware stores and garden centers. You can also make your own from toilet paper tubes, newspaper or cardboard egg cartons. As long as you have a cup shape an inch or two deep, you’re all set. Enviro Girl winds a strip of newspaper around a cup. Then she folds down one end and sets that newspaper cup in a tray to fill with soil and seeds. One Sunday edition will adequately prepare a garden’s worth of seedlings! If you use compostable materials to start your seeds in, you can just plant the entire container into the ground when weather permits.
2. Use the right soil. Most hardware stores and garden centers sell “starter soil,” which is looser than regular potting soil. This makes it easier for those roots to dig in and soak up all the good nutrients enriching the soil. Enviro Girl recommends this investment. If you want to use regular dirt from outside, Enviro Girl recommends s
3. Provide your plants with enough sunshine. If your seeds don’t get any natural sunlight, they won’t grow. If you’re cramped for space, do what Enviro Girl has done: keep those seedlings on an old cookie or baking sheet and move them near a window in the morning and back to a more convenient location in the late afternoon or evening.
4. Water. But with a light touch. Enviro Girl keeps a spray bottle to mist her seedlings, because they will get root rot in WET soil, you must keep the soil merely damp. If you cover your seedlings, it will help them retain moisture, plastic wrap or a clear lid of some sort will do the trick nicely.
The right container, soil, sunlight and water will help your garden plants get a head start. This year Enviro Girl is starting peppers, zinnias, pumpkins, watermelon, squash and snapdragons indoors.
Looking for more extensive information on seed starting? Click here!
Will you start seeds indoors this season? What kinds? What tips can you share with our readers at Eco Women?