I have been crazed about seed starting this year. Starting a new flower and vegetable garden mostly last year, after the previous year of pulling things up and landscaping, I just felt that I didn’t have enough plants. I had a few tomatoes and peppers and squash, but not enough to make good quantities of sauces and salsas. I had purchased lots of perennials, but definitely not enough. While I have been pleased with my Sedum, Rudbeckia, Phlox and many others, my plants were just not densely planted enough, I was missing a few favourites, and I just plain needed MORE.
So as I previously posted I have been starting seeds indoors. Things are getting a little crowded in my house. I have used a variety of containers to plant. I have used a bunch of 36 cell greenhouse kits with humidity domes (clear plastic covers). These retain moisture for my little germinated seeds – so these trays have had the best results so far.
I have re-used some garden center plastic pots – and covered them loosely with clear sandwich bags to create that greenhouse effect.
I have recycled some tin cans and platic margarine containers as well as plastic mushroom packages. On Pinterest, I saw the idea of using empty toilet paper rolls within the containers to separate the seedlings. This seems to be working so far – it’s a little strange, but if it helps me separate the seedlings later on, that will be awesome.
And finally, I have used some egg cartons as planters. The cardboard appears to be absorbing the moisture in these a little too much.
Things are now sprouting (too early of course), and it’s almost time to deal with the seedlings in the 36 cell greenhouse kits. I have just been misting all of the seedlings – not over-soaking, and there has been no mold/damping off.
I am supposed to remove the greenhouse top from the cells once the seedlings reach about 1″ in height. This keeps mold from developing around the little seedlings. I am then supposed to allow the plants to continue to grow until the root systems and leaves develop. I know I will have to thin the plants – perhaps with scissors at the base – but that’s hard for me. I get attached to those little things!
The first set of leaves on my seedlings are really seeds – they are called cotyledons. The cotyledons store the seeds’ food. It’s the second (and later) set(s) of leaves that are real. The plants are really getting growing when they have those next leaves and are an inch or 2 tall. At that point I can start to think about fertilizing them, and deciding where to plant them next.
When the plants are a few more inches tall, I will check the roots of one or two types of plants to see if they are filling the cells. Then it will be time to plant them into another pot if it’s too early to plant outside. I may move them into the flower pots that I moved in from the snow today, and start some more seeds in the cells.
I won’t be able to plant my plants outside until mid-May, but when the days get warmer I’ll be hardening them off – just placing them outside on my front porch for a few hours to get some more sun. I will try to remember to bring the plants in before dark – I’ve been known to forget in the past and lose a few plants to frost.