Around this time of year I always get anxious to get gardening.  This is generally the time when things start thawing out around here – but, as we know, this has been one weird winter and things were thawing in February.

Even though there are some crops you can direct seed outside right now (like the ones I planted in my buckets), there are others that are a little more tender and shouldn’t go outside until the night time temperatures are a little more moderate.  That doesn’t mean you can’t start planting them, though.  You’ll just have to do it inside.

Now, you might be saying, “That’s nice, Heather, but I don’t have a greenhouse to start plants in.”  Well, neither do I, but that doesn’t mean we can’t start some plants anyway!

Admittedly, this method I’m about to describe has it’s faults, but it can work in a pinch.

Starting seeds indoors -Method 1:

Materials needed:

  • A container
  • Some clear plastic (a sandwich baggy works just fine)
  • High quality potting mix
  • Seeds
  • Light
  • Water

Assembly:

Fill your chosen container with the potting mix, plant the seed, water it in, fix the plastic lid or baggy over the container, put it on a window ledge where it will get lots of light.  See how simple that is?

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There are some things to remember that will help you be more successful, however.

1) Know how deep to plant your seeds.  Generally speaking, the smaller the seed, the shallower you need to plant it.  What I do is I fill the container, gently push the seeds into the potting mix (ever so slightly), and then sprinkle just a bit more on top.  The seed packet or the knowledgeable garden center employee can help you know the exact planting depth requirements for your plant.

2) Once the seeds have germinated you’ll want to remove the plastic cover.  It’s great for getting the seeds to germinate because it keeps the potting mix warm and moist, but those same conditions can spell disease and disaster if you leave it on too long after the seeds have sprouted.

3) This is one is probably the most important, and that is light.  Starting seeds on a kitchen windowsill works ok – and if you’re desperate for something green, then “ok” is probably good enough.  But, even on the sunniest windowsill your plants will do a lot of stretching towards the light which makes for a “leggy”, gangly seedling that doesn’t always transplant well.  The solution for this?  Supplemental lighting…or in other words, the topic for the next blog post.  Stay tuned!