Monday, March 31, 2008

Seed Starting 101

Have you ever wanted to start your own garden seeds, but the process is a tad intimidating?
In the next few postings we will walk you through the process.

By starting our own seeds we have even more control over what we grow, and more importantly where the seed originated and how it was gathered. We choose to grow from certified organic seeds.
The process begins by gathering and sterilizing your seeding trays. Trays may be used multiple times, but will need to be sanitized by washing in a tub of 10:1 bleach solution. Do not skip this step, it is messy, but worth it to begin the seedlings in a sterile environment.
Once the trays are dry fill them with a organic potting mix, a seed starting mix is preferred.

Check the seed packet for it will have invaluable information, such as how early to start indoors & days to germination. The last "official" frost date is May 20th in our zone.

We are starting Sweet Peppers, which have a germination of 10-21 days, at soil temps of 75-85 degrees. Yes, that is soil temp which means you have to warm the potting mix up to 75-85 degrees to ensure germination. The easiest way to do so is with a heating mat.

Pepper seed need only be planted 1/4" deep in the moist potting mix, once planted, place on heating mat or warmest spot in house, seeds do not need light to germinate. Immediately upon germination light will need to be provided.

If your seeding trays do not have a plastic domed cover, a thin plastic bag (dry cleaning bags) over the top of the tray will suffice. Covering the tray provides humidity which aids in keeping the potting mix moist. Keep the mix moist but not wet and if needed always bottom water.

to be continued.......

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