Seed Starting Tips

| 3/24/2010 3:00:07 PM

Tomato sproutOur office seed starting project has been a glowing success so far. Just three days after we planted our seeds, a few tomato sprouts had already broken ground! A few days after that, the peppers did the same. And both have been growing like crazy ever since — especially the tomatoes. Our excitement has been accompanied by a lot of learning, and I’d like to share some seed starting tips based on our experience. (Check out our What to Plant Now tool to learn which seeds you can start indoors in your area right now — there's still time!)


Seed starting trays. You can pick up various sizes of seed starting trays at your local garden center. These usually come with one tray with dividers and holes in the bottom, and one flat tray without holes to set the first tray into. If you don’t want Grow light timerto purchase a setup like this, you can use recycled materials. For example, clean, empty yogurt cups with holes drilled in the bottom could be set inside a large baking pan to create a great tray kit. Making your trays is a perfect opportunity to get creative.

Seed starting mix. For best results, start seeds in an organic seed starting mix. These mixes are very fine and will hold water well. A small bag will cost about $5 at your local garden center.

Seeds. Consider planting heirloom varieties (see our article, Heirloom Vegetables: 6 Advantages Compared to Hybrids). Also, only use seeds from previous seasons if they’ve been stored properly in a cool, dry place.

Timer for your grow light. A timer isn’t a necessity, but it sure is handy. We plugged our grow light into an automatic timer, setting it to give the plants 18 hours of light per day.

Getting Started

Planting. For tomatoes and peppers, we planted two seeds per compartment with the intent to thin them later. We then covered the seeds with about a quarter inch of seed starting mix and gently patted down the soil.

Joe Novick_2
3/30/2010 4:06:18 PM


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