Howdy there, Gardeners!
Indoor seed starting can be a great way to save money and get a jump-start on the growing season.
Here are some important reasons to consider starting your own garden plants indoors:
First thing is to decide which plants are worth starting indoors. For most people, these will be the plants that have a longer productive season in the garden – things like tomatoes, peppers, squash, broccoli, or cucumbers. Just follow planting directions on the seed packages for planting depth and timing when planting indoors. However, many plants, such as beans or corn, quick crops like radishes and spinach, and most root vegetables (beets, carrots), are generally best sown directly in the garden.
Next is figuring out how to bring springtime indoors. Plants need water, soil, light, warmth, and food. Planting in flats with the right plant mix and added nutrients, you can usually feed and water them adequately. Indoors, you’re most of the way there on spring warmth.
That leaves light. Plants need a LOT of light. Remember, these guys like to stand out in the sun for 8 hours at a stretch. That’s hard to simulate indoors.
So what often happens is, gardeners, end up with thin, leggy plants on windowsills stretching over as they reach for sun. Such seedlings have a hard time growing well in the garden. What to do?
Seed/Germination - Sprouting Your Seeds
Dampen a paper towel with clean water
- Spray seeds with a light mist of Clean Harvest Nutrients ready-to-use plant food and micronutrient.
- Add seeds in a row on ½ side of the moistened paper towel.
- Fold towel over seeds, put in a sealed plastic bag or container with a clear lid.
- Above your fridge is a good place to store, not in direct sunlight.
- Watch the magic happen of your seeds sprouting.
- Plant in soil. Make a hole in the soil, use tweezers to place seedlings in soil and then lightly push soil around the seedling.
- Re-apply light mist of Clean Harvest Nutrients plant food and micronutrient.
Unless you have a greenhouse or solarium, there are two main solutions to getting your indoor starts enough light:
Watch the weather. If you time your planting right, you can use the warmth of your home to get plants germinated, then get your seedlings outdoors during the day for the sunshine they need after they’re up. This can be a labor of love, as it means you have to cart them in and out, and watch the temperatures pretty closely.
Using artificial lights means you can start earlier don’t have to count so much on the weather. This is easier and can be a lot less expensive than most people expect to get started. Artificial light can be as cheap as ordinary fluorescent shop lights. Keep them about 2 inches from your plants – you’re competing with sunlight, remember. One friend of the Clean Harvest Nutrients Community shares that they successfully started seedlings under regular shop lights for 25 years before investing in a true “grow light” system.
If you have the resources, you can also find some amazing lighting units on the market that are specially designed for seed starting. Stronger lights, specifically designed for seed starting, will allow more distance between the plants and the light source. Whether you build a system or buy one, make sure the lights can be adjusted to various heights as the plants growing beneath them.
We encourage you to get creative to keep costs down. Old baking pans or catering trays can be used to catch water from your seedlings. Last year’s plastic cell packs can be filled with moist soil and reused. And as always, find another gardener or online resource to keep it fun and keep learning.
Happy Gardening. Till next time.