Last year we had a lot of success starting seeds indoors (I was a little too eager when I transplanted, but that is another story). You can read a short post about my seeds last year here. This year we have started a number of seeds in our dining room already. Instead of using fancy trays from the garden center like I did last year we opted for inexpensive and sturdy 9"x13" disposable casserole dishes with plastic lids. These are a handy size as far as portability, they are also lightweight, sturdy, and deep, plus the plastic lids make a perfect little green house for seed germination!
1. Fill trays with seed starting mix about 2"-2 1/2" deep.
2. Moisten soil.
3. Poke holes in soil with the eraser end of a pencil. For small seeds plant 2 or 3 per hole, 1 per hole for larger seeds about 1" apart (you can also refer to package directions for spacing).
4. Sprinkle 1/2" of soil on top when you've planted all your seeds and gently firm the soil with a flat, heavy object or the palm of your hand so that the surface is covered and even.
5. Place lid on and keep in a warm place that gets plenty of sunlight (between 70 and 75F degrees for germination and 60-70F degrees after germination).
6. Once your seeds have sprouted you can remove the lid.
7. Poke holes in the bottom of the trays with a small, sharp, pointed object and then place the lid beneath the trays so that you can bottom-water as needed.
8. The first leaves on your seedlings are seed leaves, which are food storage cells. Once your seedlings develop true leaves you can begin fertilizing.
9. When you water mix in a diluted amount of natural fertilizer (1/4 strength). We are using sea kelp to fertilize out seedlings, but some other alternatives would be fish emulsion or vermicompost tea.
I will be posting follow-ups about transplanting to peat-pots, "hardening off", and finally moving to the garden, so stay tuned!