Growing from seed is a lot easier than you think. It’s also a lot more economical than buying adorable plants at the greenhouse. In my university life, I actually killed an English Ivy, a plant that has a reputation of being unkillable. I’m now going on now my 5th season of gardening in earnest. If I can grow wonderful plants from seeds, believe me, anyone can. Here’s what I’ve learnt.
Know What & WHEN To Start
Getting a jump on the season for longer-season crops (120 days) is always a way to have fresh tomatoes and zucchinis earlier! Know your zone, and when plants can be planted outside when nights are frost-free. This dictates when you can start your seeds indoors.
For instance, we live in Zone 3a, and typically by mid-May or the end of May nights are frost-free. I like to start my longer-season plants at the beginning of April so they will be a little bigger and able to spend days outside on the porch in the sun before planting.
Pick a quality seed
Although you can buy seeds pretty much anywhere these days, look for a good quality seed. If you’re growing specifically in a cold-frame or greenhouse, look for seeds that are humidity tolerant and mould resistant.
Germinate Your Seed
You can be as simple or as complex as you want with this one. From science class you might remember a baggy & a piece of paper towel will germinate a seed. You can also use plastic self-watering 72-pod starters, a little dirt in a cup or my personal favourite, an AeroGarden.
Water, Water, Water
Make sure you are giving those thirsty little plants a drink. If you’re the type to set it and forget it – a self-watering system or AeroGarden might be a good investment. Set an alarm, write yourself a Post-It reminder or do what you have to do to make sure you complete this one.
Movin’ On Up!
Depending on what method you decided to use, you will eventually have to move your little seedlings into a larger pot or container. Take a jog through your recycling bin to see if you have anything that might work. Milk cartons, juice cartons, broth tetra packages, glass jars all can make good homes for little plants. If you’re out of recycling, check out CowPots that can be planted directly into the soil.
Get Outdoors, Plant Edition
Last but most importantly – get those seedlings used to the weather outside. Put them on the porch outside during the sunny hours of the day (10-4pm ideally) and let them get use to the conditions. After you plant them into their dirt homes outside, make sure to keep checking the temperatures outside to ensure you don’t freeze the little babies.