Starting Seeds Indoors

It’s that time again to start your seeds inside for early spring planting in the northwest.   Some of you in the warmer Southern states probably should have already started your seeds.

Starting seeds inside is easy and inexpensive. All you need is a container to hold dirt. Some start them in plastic trays from a nursery supply house. Some use old toilet paper tubes wrapped in newspaper folded under to close the bottom.

You will need some starter potting mix. I prefer to mix my own with sawdust, peat moss of some sort, sand, and perlite of vermiculite.

A one part of each ratio works for me.  If you don’t have sawdust you can use two parts vermiculite or perlite or even coconut coir. What you really need is a fast draining soil that has water.

This sounds counter to each other. However you want to have ingredients that he water for a while and prevent drying out quickly but lets all that e tea water drain out do it doesn’t pool and rot your plants.

Your seeds will need to be warm in most instances. Around 65 to 70 F is a good median.

You won’t need lighting to begin with. Seeds are embryos, so like chicken babies they feed off the nutrients in the embryo for the first few days.   After that you will need to give them nutrients by adding fertilizers to your watering regime.   As a result there is no need for light to photosynthesize for growth. It’s built right on to the seed.

Once the seeds get some growth going they need a fertilizer. There’s many available. Many are all purpose and work well for most plants.

Once your seeds get big enough they’ll need light too. Regular shop lights will work. Place them mere inches from the green leaves but make sure that excessive heat doesn’t build up.   Move the light up until you are ready to put outside.

Once they are ready to go outside they should be hardened off by acclimating them to outside conditions. Move them closer to a cooler area or put them in a cold frame.

Keep them watered and fertilized. Soon you will have a jump on spring.   The tomatoes will be the first ones ready on your block.

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