Gardening in the Blind


Starting seedlings
March 25, 2012, 7:23 pm
Filed under: Indoor Gardening, Seedlings

After three weekends worth of cleaning in the basement, it was finally ready to start the seedlings.  I thought I would document just what I do as I have never done that before.  To start the seedlings I have heating mats that are designed for gardeners.  I leave these on the entire time.

Using a smaller plastic, fill it to the top with some good organic seed starting soil.  I try to not have a lot of peat in it as I find it dries out too quickly.  I then have to go upstairs to the kitchen sink to fill it with water as I don’t have access to running water downstairs.  After you pour a lot of water in it, mix it will with your hands.  Make sure the entire container of soil is wet.  You want it wet but not so wet that you can grab a handful and wring it out.  Too much water will hinder the germination of most seeds.

After you have mixed the soil you are ready to fill each cell of the tray with soil.  Notice I have a solid tray that it sits in.  This prevents water from leaking out every which way when I water it.  You want to make sure it is packed firmly in each cell.  I fill it to the top as I find it is easier, but it creates an additional step that you need to do before putting the seeds in each cell.  Some might find this a nuances, but I find I spend less time skimming the dirt off the top before planting then trying to get each cell filled just right.

After I use the soil that I have wet (it fills three trays for me most of the time) I start to pull out the seeds and figure out how many of each I want to start with.  I never do just one.  On a rare occasion I will plant just two.  I want to make sure that if I don’t have strong germination I still have one that I can use.  I grow more than I need so I can pick the stronger ones for my garden.  Every year I try something new for labeling.  This year I am on the cheap.  I have chopped up index cards and used a sharpie.  I might have to replace as we go, but it is the cheapest I have done!

After you have the labels, skim the soil off the top so that you have room to cover the seeds.  Be careful and read the seeds as some will need the light to germinate, thus no soil to cover it.  I then go through a tray is a very systematic way.  I place the labels in the cells for one item I am growing.  I then open the seeds and place two seeds per tray and repeat this process until the entire tray is finished.  Then I grab some of the soil I skimmed off the top and start from the back forward covering each cell so the seeds are not visible.  I lightly pat it down and place on my heating pad.  I keep the lights on it from 5 am until 8 pm.  The heating pad is left on throughout the night to keep them warm.  I will post what they look like in a few days.

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