Seed Starting For The Anything-But-Green Thumbed
Starting seeds indoors gives you a jump on the season and allows you to try more varieties than will be available locally. Good timing is critical for starting seeds indoors. To ensure you begin starting seeds at the proper time, determine the last frost date in your area (roughly). Choose containers based on your needs, preferences and quantities you are growing in. Use pots with drainage holes, also known as community pots, for starting a group of seedlings. Next step: Soil. You can buy organic seed-starting mix at most garden stores, or make your own (using 4 parts screened compost, 1 part perlite, 1 part vermiculite 2 parts peat moss). Don't use potting soil, often it is too rich and doesn't drain well enough for seedlings. Fill your pots with the soil, leaving some space to the brim. Using your finger, a pencil - whatever - make 'seed holes' about twice as deep as the seed is wide, and at the depth and distance recommended on the seed packet. Cover with more mix unless otherwise specified. Seeds that require light to germinate can be sprinkled on the soil surface. If you're no good at identifying what you've planted, label your pots, or use little wooden indicators with the name of the plant in the soil. At this point, you can choose to cover your seeds with a cotton cloth to keep warmth in until the seeds germinate and begin to emerge. Now, you can remove the cover and watch them grow steadily. Keep the soil moist; never too wet. When the time is right - move the little guys outside. Enjoy your organic, local mini-mart.