Once your seeds arrive it’s a great time to plan out where you will plant and when you will plant.
Seed companies generally provide planting information on the package. This is a great way to sort out the seeds. Make a pile of the ones you will need to start indoors versus the ones you will sow directly into the garden.
With that completed start a list of your seeds. For the ones that require to be started indoors use your frost free date for your area and calculate the date you should be starting the seeds by. For example our first frost free date is May 21. That means I will start our tomatoes April 7th. By making a list you can easily keep track of when you should be planting.
Here is an example of our list for this year. Click to enlarge.
We use a Root Farm led grow light. As we only have one I will plant all the seeds that need to be started 9-10 weeks prior the frost free date. Once they have germinated and set the first set of true leaves, I will move them to a table where they get enough sun. Then I will start seeds that should be planted 6 weeks before the frost free date. Continuing in this fashion from longer to shorter periods makes great use of the grow light while maximizing the seedlings we start. Our grow light is plugged into a timer giving our plants “sun” for 14 hours.
Plants moved to a table get sun from a south facing window and by placing a foil lined cardboard in behind, it keeps the plants from leaning toward the sun and becoming leggy.
When starting seeds indoors for the first time some things to keep in mind. Use a growing medium for seeds. Regular garden soil is too heavy and lacks the drainage you will need. Sow seeds according to package directions. Some seeds are covered and some seeds need light to germinate. You may be tempted to plant too many. Visualize your growing area to be 1/4 the size it actually is. This will help with spacing. I know my space holds 10 tomato plants. Of those I want two of the Cherry Tomatoes. I sow 4 of these even though the package contains a couple dozen seeds. This will cover the possibility not all germinate and also I can chose the most robust ones when it’s time to place them into the garden. Leftovers are pretty easy to give away.
Place a fan near them to circulate the air indirectly around the seed tray. This will cut down on the possibility of mold growing on top of the damp soil. New seedlings are tender and easy to damage. For this reason we water these tender shoots with a turkey Baster. Peat pots dry out easily. You may need to water a couple tines a day. Keep the room a steady temperature, our room is 21 Celsius or 70 Fahrenheit. Some plants need more heat to germinate. A heat belt under the seed tray is helpful here.
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