Growing Things: Starting Your Garden From Seeds

Growing Things: Starting Your Garden From Seeds

If anyone told you, starting plants from seeds was difficult or exhausting, I’m here to debunk the myth. If you’ve ever gardened, this will be a cake-walk. If you haven’t, this will be an exciting activity to try! A special type of fulfillment comes from watching a tiny dry seed, flourish into a big beautiful living plant.

Write a Seed Schedule

Seed starting is probably better shown than read, so prepared to be bombarded with pictures. Providing an easy step-by-step is the goal here! Before beginning, you will need to do a little planning. Most areas have more than one growing season. here in chicago, we pretty much have three: spring, summer and fall. Some seeds need to be started indoors to get a head-start before the weather gets warm. Others need to be started outside, and will thrive in particular outdoor conditions. After planning what you’d like to grow and purchasing seed, carefully look at the back of each packet. There will be specific instructions as to when and where to sow your seed, based on your growing zone.

Seed Starting Schedule

Filled Seed Starting Schedule

Strategy is important when it comes to knowing when to start your seeds. Sow them too early, and they might not survive the impending weather. Sow them to late and they might die before yielding a good crop (of fruits, veggies, flowers etc). This is where a seed schedule comes in handy. The photo on the left is a copy of my seed schedule. I wrote this one by hand, but have since created a digital copy. You can download your own seed starting sheet here.

 

As you can see, there are two sections for each month: start (inside) and sow (outside). Based on your seed’s specifications, write which ones you need to start indoors by month, and then write their names again when its time to move them outside. If they are “direct sow”, write their names down on the right side, in the corresponding month you need to plant them. when you are done, it should look something like the photo to the right. When you are done, its time to get to planting! 

Sow those seeds!

In addition to your seeds, you’ll need:

  1. Organic seed starter. Always. seed germination is the most important part of the growing process and need essential nutrients to do so. Never use old soil, or soil from outside. It could cause to seeds to grow bacteria. Go for quality. A quality seed starter ranges from $3-$7 for a 5 gallon bag.

  2. A trowel (the small gardening tool). These range from $1-$5 online, or at your local nursery 

  3. Some small cups/containers to start your seed + something plastic to line your containers, for drainage. The trays were 13¢ at my local hardware store. as you can see, I have egg cartons as well. These work perfectly because they’re essentially free, plus you can cut them up to put your seedlings directly in the ground. These little cups are single use bath cups, they are not lined with wax and don’t seem to leech ink. You can also use biodegradable seed cups, found at your local nursery. 

  4. Water pitcher + spray bottle 

  5. Plastic wrap, or dome sort of domed clear plastic 

The great part about seed starting is that you don’t need a ton of space/supplies. This work area i constructed is on my kitchen counter! Lay down some old newspaper and let’s go to town.  

Growing Things: Starting Your Garden From Seeds

Label your containers for each plant you would like to start. you will want to do 3 or for containers for each plant even if you don’t plan to plant that many. Some seeds- especially old ones- will not germinate. Its best to have backups.

Fill each space/cup a little more than half way with seed starter. The soil will expand when adding water. Use a small stick to stir water into soil if needed. An alternative is to add water and seed starter to a large container, and scoop portions into seed cups.

When the seed starter has completely absorbed the water, it should be damp, not soaked. At this point, you can add two to three seeds per cup/section. pro tip: soak your seeds in water for 24 hours before sowing to speed up germination. this is optional. Cover each seed section with a quarter inch of seed starter. Use a spray bottle to dampen newly sown seeds. adding too much water at once can flood the seeds. 

Label your containers for each plant you would like to start. You will want to do 3 or for containers for each plant even if you don’t plan to plant that many. Some seeds- especially old ones- will not germinate. its best to have backups.

Fill each space/cup a little more than half way with seed starter. The soil will expand when adding water. Use a small stick to stir water into soil if needed. An alternative is to add water and seed starter to a large container, and scoop portions into seed cups.

When the seed starter has completely absorbed the water, it should be damp, not soaked. At this point, you can add two to three seeds per cup/section. Pro tip: soak your seeds in water for 24 hours before sowing to speed up germination. This is optional. Cover each seed section with a quarter inch of seed starter. Use a spray bottle to dampen newly sown seeds. adding too much water at once can flood the seeds.

Learn more about about starting seeds by watching this quick live getting started below. Hoping this post gave insight as to how to get going. Can’t wait to see these are full-grown and ready to harvest!

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