Home > Great Big Greenhouse Blog > January 2017 > BONNIE'S GARDEN--How to Plant Seeds

BONNIE'S GARDEN--How to Plant Seeds

Last week I told you why I plant seeds.  This week, I’ll tell you how.  And, like I mentioned last week, it is ridiculously easy.  Key ingredients are sunlight and a sterile seed starting potting medium—oh, and a packet of seeds.

Now I’m blessed with south-east facing windows on the back side of my house.  That means I get sun from right about 8 a.m. to about 2:45-ish.  However, if all I had was an east window with morning sun or a west window with afternoon sun, I’d simply get a plant light and that would make up the difference.  As it is, I only use a plant light if we happen to run into one of those long stretches of cloudy grey winter days.

Before I do anything else, I look at the seed packet.  The packet is the best source of information on planting that seed.  When do I plant it?  The packet tells me.  How deep do I plant it?  The packet tells me.  How far apart?  The packet tells me.  More sun or more shade?  Again, the packet tells me.  How long does it the first seedling to appear?  The packet tells me that, too.   Is this seed best started indoors or out?  The packet will even tell me that.

There are several potting mediums to choose between.  I prefer either a sterile seed starting soil mix—or those convenient little peat pellets—sometimes called Jiffy Pellets.  They expand when you add water.  You can use seed starter trays (be sure they have drainage holes), little plastic pots or even little peat pots—they’re pretty handy because you can plant the pot and all in the ground when you’re ready.  
There are trays that come with convenient greenhouse lids or you can simply use plastic wrap over the pots/trays.  Just be sure to remove it as soon as the seeds break the soil surface.  If you grow in trays, then at some point you’ll want to transplant the seedlings to bigger pots. 

Some seeds I always start indoors—tomatoes, peppers, eggplants, impatiens, rosemary, basil.  Other seeds are best direct sown outside—beans, squash, cucumbers, zinnias, and melons grow so quickly that it’s not necessary to start them indoors.  Root crops like beets, turnips, radishes, and carrots don’t transplant well so are also best direct-sowed. 

A seed packet may tell you to start a seed indoors so many weeks before the last expected frost date.  Around here, they usually say mid-April is our last “expected” frost date, but wasn’t it just last spring we had a hard-freeze the END of April?  If you love running around your garden trying to cover tender young plants, you can move plants out mid-April, if you want.  Me?  Well I stick with the lower stress route and keep my seedlings in little pots—easily brought indoors for a night or two--until the first week in May.
Posted: 1/31/2017 by Bonnie Pega | with 0 comment(s)
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