Starting your own seeds indoors can be an extremely satisfying and rewarding endeavor. Follow these steps to make sure your seeds grow into healthy, happy plants!
Use a sterile potting or seed-starting mix.
Use specialty potting mix specifically designed for starting seeds, not earth from your garden. Potting mix is very light and allows water to drain properly. Also, because potting mix is sterile, you won't get any weeds.
Choose the perfect containers.
Egg cartons are perfect for tiny seeds, and paper cups with holes punched in the bottoms (a use for all those Tim Hortons cups!) are perfect for bigger seeds.
Next, a little water and sunshine.
After filling your containers with soil, place them in bright light and lightly moisten the soil.
Sow your seeds.
Sow your seeds according to the seed package instructions. Make sure you read the package carefully; "4 to 6 weeks before last frost date" would mean the end of March.
Label your seeds!
Different types of seedlings can often look pretty similar to one another.
Label each container with the name of the seed you've put in, and also keep a record of the date that you sowed your seed. A pack of popsicle sticks from the dollar store is perfect for the job.
Make a mini greenhouse.
Cover your seeds with clear plastic, a plastic bag will do nicely. You will be creating your own small greenhouse, keeping moisture inside the bag.
As soon as the seed breaks the surface of the soil it's time to take off the plastic. Go easy on watering at this stage, if the soil is dry then lightly water.
Fertilize once the seedling has 2 sets of leaves. Start with half strength of 20-20-20 fertilizer and gradually work up to full strength.
Play the 'plant hokey-pokey'.
After the last frost date in your area (approx. April 25 in Southern Ontario) start the 'plant hokey-pokey'.
Bring your seedlings outside during the day and inside at night. Repeat until the days warm up and it's safe to plant.