Spring is just around the corner. Really, it is! And we are oh, so, ready! This will be the fourth year (or is it the fifth?) that we have started our own seeds. Let me tell you, it is easy to grow your own bedding plants. The first year we used heirloom seeds and saved seed from the fruit of the harvest each fall since. Each year in mid-February (or March this year!) we plant those seeds indoors and nurture them into beautiful bedding plants of our own. It’s fun, it’s easy, it cost almost nothing, it’s educational, we get to experience a bit of Spring while winter still has a hold on the world around us.
It’s so easy. Gather up a few supplies, follow these simple steps:
- Containers. You can purchase the little trays and starter pots, or you can reuse the small containers last years’ bedding plants came in. You can use those tin cans or plastic tubs you have squirreled away in the cupboard or even a cardboard box lined with plastic.
- Soil. I like to use a good potting/gardening soil to give the seedlings a boost as they start, but you could use soil right out of your garden. Fill containers with soil about 2/3 full.
- Seed. Tomatoes, peppers, herbs, marigolds, alyssum are some that grow well. We used seeds we’ve saved from past years. That’s one of the benefits of using heirloom seeds. Or you can purchase new seed. I am seeing seed displays in all the stores these days. 1 or 2 seeds in small, sectioned containers. Or sprinkle a pinch or two over surface the surface in larger containers. Cover with a layer of soil about 1/4 inch thick.
- Labels. This is important! Those seedlings all look the same. And you wouldn’t want to mix up the jalapenos with the bell peppers, now, would you? You can use craft sticks or seed packages or masking tape or plastic spoons, whatever works on the surface you are planting in.
- Water. Soil should be damp, not drenched. Keeping the soil moist and warm is essential for sprouting the seeds. Once the seedlings are up and growing they’ll require a bit more water, but not too much, you don’t want to drown them!
- Light Source. Set them under a grow light of some type (any fluorescent bulb I think would do in a pinch) and/or near a large window. We use a fluorescent “shop light” and leave it on 24/7.
- Dark Plastic. This absorbs light and holds in moisture. We leave our seeds covered until they are sprouting.
- Patience. There’s nothing like waiting for those tiny seeds to sprout green to teach us patience. But it’s worth it!
And now we wait for our seeds to grow into seedlings and mature into bedding plants, dreaming of the garden we’ll be tending this summer and the fruits of our labor. I’ll be back soon to share our progress and more tips on growing your own bedding plants.
Do you start your plants from seed? What will you be planting in your garden this summer?
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