Friday, January 13, 2012

Garden Organization: Seed starting!

It is finally that time of year again!  For the avid gardener, seed starting season is more exciting than Christmas.  I was beyond thrilled to be starting to grow vegetables again.
In December, I made my list of what seeds to start and when, so now all I have to do is follow my preset instructions.
Sturdy plastic tray.
I use heavy duty plant trays to support the cheaper multi-cell black plastic plant trays used for starting seeds.  I LOVE the heavy duty trays compared to the cheaper black plastic ones available at hardware stores.  They are more expensive, but they should last forever and they are very durable and don't bend under the weight of soil and plants.
72 cell flat, resting in durable tray.
I filled the cells of the seed starting tray with moist seed starting mix.
72 cell flat with seed starting mix.
I used a pencil or screwdriver to make a small hole for the seeds.  And then I added 2-3 seeds per cell, and gently covered with more soil.
Use a small object to make holes for seeds.
 I placed the tray on a seed heating mat to raise the soil temperature. 
Seedling heat mat.
 And I covered the tray with a clear plastic tray lid.
Seed starting tray with lid.
I check the soil every day, and when it is starting to get dry, I use a mister to moisten the soil.  A mister makes watering tender seedlings much easier.
Use a mister to water seedlings.
Five days after planting (and right on schedule), I awoke to lettuce seedlings!
Lettuce seedlings.
I put them directly under fluorescent lights (T8) to simulate sunlight.  The little plants will enjoy about 16 hours a day of light until they are ready to be taken to the garden.
Seed tray with T8 fluorescent lights.
Are you ready for seed starting?

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