Hi, friends. It’s been a few weeks since I started my heirloom garden, and I’ve got an update for you! I’ve definitely learned a few new lessons from trying to start my own seeds. I failed miserably the first time, but the second time has been more successful.
Round One: Failure
The first time I started seeds, I just used a paper egg carton—I had heard somewhere that it could work for starting seeds. So I just grabbed some potting soil, filled the carton, and carefully placed one seed into each section. Then I watered the entire thing, placed it in front of my sliding glass door in direct sunlight, and…
Nothing. Big-time fail.
I’ve never started seeds before, and I learned a few crucial lessons from what I will hereafter refer to as my "practice round."
Round Two: Success!Before starting round two of my seedlings, I downloaded some seed-starting instructions from the internet, and I got a couple of really inexpensive seed starting kits (like mini countertop greenhouses) at a local hardware store. They were around $3.00-$5.00 each, and they have worked perfectly so far. I highly recommend getting something similar. The ones I bought aren’t reusable, but you can buy kits that are re-usable if you will be starting seeds every year.
Just follow the directions on the kit, and after only a few days you’ll see some lovely little green shoots sprouting up from the soil. Once I did it right, I was surprised how quickly I saw things happening—which is great for me, because I’m not the world’s most patient person.
On the front of each kit I wrote a number and the word "Front," and on a piece of paper I drew a little diagram of which type of seeds I planted in which pellet. That way I could ensure I didn't transfer onions thinking they were peas, or cucumbers thinking they were zucchini!
|I numbered and labeled the front of each seed starter kit so I would know which seedlings were which .|
The basic steps were as follows:
- Moisten the soil.
- Loosen the top of the soil.
- Place 2-3 seeds in each soil section and cover loosely with soil.
- Cover with lid (provided in the kits I bought).
- Keep in a warm place out of direct sunlight.
- Keep moist.
- After the first seedlings sprout up, keep the lid propped partially open, and keep the soil moist.
|After just 2 or 3 days!|
|These soil pellets are great for novice gardeners like me.|
Once the seeds all sprouted, I was surprised how quickly everything grew.
See? Aren’t they great?
|All the seedlings reaching toward the sunlight through the windows...|
|The zucchini, peas, and cucumbers grew the fastest!|
If you don’t want to do a starter kit, you can Replace a similar container, use good soil for starting seeds, be sure to keep the container out of the direct sunlight, and keep the soil moist. After the initial soaking of the soil based on the kit instructions, I sprayed all of the seeds twice a day with a regular spray bottle of plain water and added about a cup of water from a measuring cup into each kit when the soil turned light brown instead of dark brown. For me, spending the few extra dollars on a kit was worth it to make sure they worked the second time—but you might be braver than I am!
So the next step will be to actually transfer these to pots or to the ground—any tips for me? Let's hear it in the comments with your tips and your own gardening adventures!
--Urban Girl (Sarah)