Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Starting seeds indoors

It's time to begin planting seeds indoors for transplanting in the spring. We are located between planting zone 7b and 8a for middle Georgia. Go to this link for a Plant Hardiness Map to see when your area will most likely have its last frost. From that, you can determine when you need to start your indoor plants.

Last year was the first year I started my own plants and I would I have to give myself mixed reviews. I didn't strictly follow directions for the peat pots I bought that really messed me up.

This year I bought Jiffy peat pots again because I thought they were good to start my seeds. My biggest mistake in using them was that I put the seeds in the peat pots before adding water. My seeds then floated all over the place and I didn't know which plants were growing where until later.

This year I not only read the directions but followed them exactly. I think my chances of keeping up with my plants is excellent since I am keeping up with where my seeds are planted.

Here is how I did it. I bought Jiffy pots and my seeds.

I then filled the planter with water. The directions recommended 10 1/2 cups of water.

Here the seed pots are beginning to swell.

After about 15 minutes they look really good.

I added a little more water to make sure they are very wet and swell at least three times the size they were when dry.

They are now perfect.

I fluffed up the pots and added seeds, then stirred them a bit with a plastic marker. Some of the seeds, like the evergreen bunching onion seeds and the American Flag Leeks I planted needed to be planted close to the top of the soil. The basil, cilantro, lavender, tomatoes and pepper seeds I planted needed to be a planted a little deeper. Just follow the seed package directions for seed depth.

I made sure I marked the seeds with plastic markers. Later I will use these markers to stick in the ground when I transplant my seedlings. I also drew a rough template of each seed tray so I could know where my seeds were to stop me from being confused later.

I put these trays under grow lights in my basement and I am checking them everyday to see if they need water.

Now is the time to plant all of the slow-growing plants. The herbs, some flowers and some vegetables. I planted some tomato and pepper plants so I could have early plants. I may have to repot them and not transplant them directly in the garden if the weather remains cool. Right now it seems like it will be an early spring and I want to be prepared.

Next week I plan to plant more seeds and I will plant them each week until I have them all started. It will save me quite a bit of money I hope.

A reminder: My sister and I are starting a new garden club named the Crossroads Garden Club. The meetings will begin with an organizational meeting on February 28th. This is a club for local residents, but we will be offering online memberships after this date. I have added a link here for more information.

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