‘Tis the season for starting seeds! Most gardeners know late winter is a great time to start seeds inside. This year we started a variety of pepper seeds, both hot and sweet, along with lettuces, chives, basil, spinach, arugula, parsley, cilantro and chard. By starting seeds in February and early March, we’ll cut down on the cost of buying summer crop seedlings, and get a jump start on cooler weather crops such as spinach, lettuce and arugula.
Curious about getting your hands dirty? Here’s how to start your own seeds:
1. Gather the necessary materials: seeds, planter, clear plastic, growing medium, spray bottle with water, labels, sharpie, grow light. For large seeds, soak overnight prior to starting.
2. Place growing medium in planter and soak using spray bottle. This will keep the growing medium from collapsing in the planter.
3. Place seeds in planter according to instructions on seed packet. Many seeds want a thin blanket of growing medium on top of them to sprout. Soak seeds using spray bottle.
4. Write name of seed and date on label with sharpie. Place label in planter; we use popsicle sticks. Place clear plastic on top of planter. Now is the time to wait!
5. Everyday after starting your seeds, soak the seeds using the spray bottle. As soon as there is a sprout, stop spraying with water. Growing medium that is too damp will cause the seedling to damp off, and you’ll have to start over. Remove the clear plastic and turn on the grow light, making sure the light is within 5 inches of the seedlings.
6. Once the ground outside is warm enough to be worked, the cooler season crops can be hardened off and planted. Wait until after the last frost for summer crops.