Time to start some of my seeds! So here is how I do it:
Yesterday I got out the light fixture I made last year and brought it in the house. This year I’m going to try some natural light bulbs (instead of the flourescents I had last year). I also washed all the pots and containers in a 10% bleach solution to disinfect them in case there was anything to deter the baby seedlings growth. Then I number the pots with some masking tape and waterproof marker so that they correlate with my seed list of plants I want to grow (so I know what I planted in each pot). I put tape on the pots with the number instead of stakes with the name in the pots as sometimes the stakes fall out. Nothing like a mystery plant where the tag falls off!
Today I got the soil in the pots, watered the soil and then planted some of my seeds to their proper depth and put a little sand over them (the sand seems to stay moister and the seedlings can push through it easier). Then I mist the sand. That way the seeds don’t get disturbed or washed away. Afterwards they go on a plant heat mat to keep warm till they germinate. I will put the lights on a timer after they germinate. Some plants need light to germinate and some don’t. I’m still learning about this. I believe I read somewhere that tomatoes don’t need light to initally germinate but do right afterwards and of course thereafter.
I planted some tomato seeds, some pepper seeds and some eggplants. All these plants seem to take the longest to get growing to decent size before transplanting, so I like to start them early. I still have more tomato seeds to start but are waiting for the seeds to come in.
Last year I used Jiffy Soil starter and wasn’t happy when I first watered the seeds as the water rolled off the soil-so this year I got this new soil (Sun Gro Metro Mix 300) and the water immediately soaks in-much nicer! I am also going to put some insulation around the light fixture to keep the plants warmer at night as my tomatoes struggled last year when the house was cooler at night. I hope this will help. Tomatoes and peppers hate to be cold as I learned last year.
Also last year I was able to “sneak” my tomatoes, peppers, and eggplants in early- April 23 (our last freeze date is May 15th) in wall of waters and they did really well (look at my slide show to see them) so that is another reason I start them this early but we will see what this year brings. We’ve had a very cold and wet winter so far (it was snowing again today)..sigh. But it was nice to be in and doing something gardening wise!