THAT IS THE QUESTION! Why wait until Easter to get things started in the garden? If you have a sunny windowsill or space under a nice warm lamp, you can begin your spring garden beds right indoors! Seed packets are available and fresh at many local nurseries, feed stores or hardware stores. These packets come with great instructions about planting, temperatures, final growth heights and even a picture of the plant you are trying to grow. Some seeds do require special presoaking and special care but for the most part growing seeds from packets is a straightforward project. Let’s look at the indoor version of sprouting packet seeds.
- Obtain the seeds either in packet form or check with a local farmer’s market to see if they have fresh seeds available.
- Allow at least two weeks for indoor germination and don’t plant outdoors until the last frost chance has disappeared. Overnight temperatures should stay in the 50’s before planting seeds or seedlings outdoors.
- Seeds do not need to be planted in soil. Shredded newspaper makes a nice sprouting medium along with other household materials—paper towels, toilet paper, etc. Paper egg cartons are great for holding the medium as are halved empty toilet paper rollers. Keep it moist but not soaked!
- Sprinkle a few seeds into each spot and put into a warm, lighted space. Now, add a tiny bit more of the growing medium, a little more moisture and cover with clear plastic wrap. Never let the medium dry completely out. Peel back the plastic wrap and mist each day.
- When you see the first green shoots poke through the medium—celebrate! Remove the plastic wrap. Obtain some liquid fertilizer and add to your misting. If you are cooking fish or shrimp the liquid from washing them makes a nice fertilizer!
- Thin out the seedlings if there are more than two or three seedlings together. Once they are two to three inches in height and outdoor conditions are correct, transplant into the garden or patio pots. Use good soil that is full of nutrients. They have used up all the nutrients the seed pod supplied them through their initial growing sprout.
Now I know it is so easy these days to just buy a tray of bedding plants, but think of the great reward from watching your little seed grow into a mature plant! This is fun the whole family can enjoy and participate in–start today!
Email your gardening questions and comments to Lisa at firstname.lastname@example.org.