It’s best to start seeds that need lots of time to get going, like parsley, celery, onions, and leeks; or seeds that love the cold weather, like broccoli, kale, cabbage, cauliflower and lettuce. Vegetables that love the hot weather can wait a little to be started.
You can plant more than one kind of seed per container for cold loving plants, but the seeds that needs lots of time to germinate, should each be in their own containers.
- Potting soil
- Seed-starting containers, like a tofu container, 8 oz cottage cheese
container, or similar size
- Labels– popsicle stick or cut plastic “stick” from plastic container
- Chopstick or pencil
- Clean spray bottle
- 4-packs or 6-packs for transplanting individual plants
Planting your seeds:
- Put some soil in a bucket & add warm water, mixing soil with your hands til it is evenly wet, but not drenched. If too wet, add more soil.
- Fill seed-starting containers to 1/4 – 1/2 inch from top with potting soil & pat down gently.
- With chopstick, make a little grooves in the soil
- sprinkle seeds in grooves, about 1/4 inch apart
- Gently pull soil, from each side of groove, over seeds and tamp down gently but firmly– seeds like soil tucked in next to them, but they also need a little air.
- Write seed type & date on label and stick it in your container next to those seeds.
- Place your “pot” in a sunny south facing window & check daily– water if soil feels dry. IMPORTANT: don’t let soil dry out, especially before seeds have sprouted.
- As soon as the seeds sprout, bring them outside during the day when it’s sunny to sit in a sunny, protected spot, and bring them in at night. This prevents them from getting “leggy” and keeps them strong.
Time to transplant to 4-packs or 6-packs:
- When you see true leaves ( those are the 3rd and 4th leaves to show themselves on the plants), they are ready to transplant to 4 or 6-packs. It’s okay to give plants a few more days to grow bigger, but don’t transplant before you see the true leaves.
- Fill the 4 or 6-packs with dampened soil (as above) to within 1/4 inch of the top and tamp down gently.
- Using a chopstick or eraser end of a pencil, make a deep hole in the soil, rotating the stick to make the hole wide.
- Next, using a fork, gently lift the soil next to the seedling in your seed- starting pot, loosening the soil so the plant will come out without tearing and damaging the roots.
- Carefully pick up the seedling by its true leaves– DON”T touch the tender roots!
- Lower the seedling into the hole in the 4 or 6-pack, making sure the roots go down into the hole.
- Push the soil in around the roots and gently but firmly press– remember, the roots like soil tucked right up against them, but also need a little air in there, so don’t press too hard.
- Water the seedlings with the spray bottle so the soil is well moistened, but not drenched.
- Check seedlings everyday to see if they need water, and put outside on sunny days in a protected spot– this will help them grow strong.
Enjoy caring for your seedlings, and watching them grow!