With all uncertainty, now is a great time to invest in your health and learn how to grow your own food. Seed starting may seem intimidating but I assure you that is quite simple and has outstanding benefits. This is your chance to control what you put in your body and know exactly what the plant has gone through before consumption. We've created a guide to help get your seedlings started!
Supplies: Here you'll find a list of supplies to start your own garden.
*Seed Tray: Seed trays come in a variety of different sizes and are available with seed starter kits. Sizes range from 50, 72, 104, 128 & 288. We most commonly use 128 and 288. For a more budget friendly option you can also use upcycled home goods as seed trays. Egg cartons, egg shells and toilet paper rolls are all great options to consider.
*Coffee Grounds(optional): Adds additional nutrients.
*Dirt: Ideally a bag of seed starting mix from your local store is best. Vermiculite is another added benefit and is used to cover the seedlings. It is made of minerals to help increase water and nutrient retention during the germination period. Although it is not necessary it is highly recommended. Please be sure to read the back of your seed packet as some seeds do NOT need to be covered and require light to germinate.
*Labels: Spoons, popsicle sticks, butter knifes, rocks, wine corks and straws are all great options to consider for labeling.
*Permanent Marker: I highly suggest using a permanent marker when labeling.
*Spray Bottle: To water seedlings.
*Seeds: Choose seeds according to your zone, plant preference and spacing. Seeds are available to purchase at many local stores and online; such as Johnny Seeds and Burpee just to name a few.
Lets Get Growing!......
First assemble your seed starter kit or create one by using a egg carton & egg shells. If using an egg carton simply cut off the carton lid, poke holes on the bottom of the carton. Then place the lid underneath to act as a tray to hold moisture and reduce any mess. Next poke a tiny hole in the bottom of half an egg shell for drainage. A needle or knife works best for this task.
Place coffee grounds in the bottom of the egg shell, then add dirt. Gently press the dirt down to eliminate any air pockets that may be within the soil. This helps the plant grow symmetrically and shapes the roots into form.
Place seed on top of the dirt and sprinkle vermiculite on top as needed or desired. Using your spray bottle mist the seeds until wet but do not completely drench the egg shell with water.
Place trays in a sunny window or under grow lights. You can even buy a shallow, clear plastic tub to cover them with for protection from any animals or kids. This also speeds up the germination rate by increasing the temperature and humidity, but is not required.
***As soon as you see a seedling sprout remove the whole tray from the box and place in a sunny or well lite area.
Germination rate greatly depends on the plant. Also some seed may not have as high of a germination rate so be sure to look that over when purchasing seeds. The germination rate is a percentage that can be found on the seed packet.
Continue to check the seedlings daily and only water as needed. Mist with spray bottle until moist, too much water can lead to rot.
Once the seedlings are about 2-3" tall, plant in the garden or desired destination. Finally watch them babies grow!