Starting your own garden plants from seeds not only saves you money but can also give you a greater variety of plant choice. Starting your seeds indoors gives the plants a head start that can bring an earlier harvest and greater yield. I have started my seeds in a variety of recycled containers. This year I used saved large and small yogurt containers, single serving ice cream containers, solo cups, paper tubes and newspaper.
1. Save as many containers you want for your seed starting or make some from newspaper or paper tubes.
2. I made my newspaper tubes with two sheets of 9”x9” newspaper advertisement. I folded the sheets in half. Rolled the paper in a tube and inserted one end in the fold. I then cut 1&1/2” slits in the bottom end and folded the ends in to make the bottom. I made the paper tube by cutting 1 inch slits in the end of a toilet paper tube. I then folded the ends in to form the bottom.
3. Label your containers. Do not depend on memory.
4. Don't start your seeds too early. Different plants have different needs. Check your seed packet to find out how many weeks each vegetable variety will take to get ready indoors before your last frost date.
5. Make sure your containers have good drainage holes. Water from the bottom if possible. I use a teaspoon to water my seedlings. This controls how much water and where the water is placed. I have heard a turkey baster is also great for watering..
6. The seedling will need lots of light to prevent spindly plants. A south facing window will do great for lighting. If you need to you might want to use growers lights.
7. Turn the container each day to prevent the seedlings from reaching toward the light and developing weak, elongated stems.
8. Before seedlings can be planted outdoors, they need to be hardened off, or acclimated to direct sunlight and fluctuating temperatures. It is best to do this over several days by placing them in direct sunlight during the morning only of the first day, then increasing their time outside by a few hours each day until time to transplant.
For many other great gardening tips and information check out Grandma's Garden Corner.