So you are thinking about planting a garden but aren’t sure where to start. Or maybe you’ve planted a garden before but want to make it better and have better results. Well you’ve come to the right place. Gardening is one of those things that no matter how long you have been doing it. You can still keep learning new things. You’ve already planned where you are going to put your garden. You have built awesome garden soil. (Yes, built. Check out how) You have ordered your garden seeds. And you’ve checked out when is the best time to plant them in your area. (yes every area is different) So now you are ready to start planting your vegetable garden! Yeah! It’s finely time! (Oh, I’m soooo excited) But how do you plant seeds? What are the best ways? Is there more than one way? If you’ve never planted a garden before, you may have a few questions about starting seeds. There are many ways to do this and some ways are better for some seeds than others. And some ways work better early in the spring. Other methods work better later in the summer.
If you have awesome soil, and you wait until the soil warms up, a lot of seeds can be planted right in the ground. But each seed has it own needs. So, like meeting someone, you need to get to know them. Read the back of the packet or the seed catalog description to find out what the plant needs. Is it a warm season plant? You can generally wait until the soil warms up enough to plant it right in the garden. But if it is a cold season plant, (doesn’t do well in the hot weather) or you have a short growing season,
So what is the best kind of pot to use when starting seeds? I’ve tried a lot of different kinds. And first let me say, most all of them work to one degree or another. I’ve tried many different trays and products. Most of them make it hard to transplant without hurting the roots. Some seed packets say not to transplant that particular seed because it doesn’t like its roots disturbed. But I’ve found a way that holds together well and is so easy on the roots. It gets planted right along with the plant and biodegrades right into the soil so you don’t have to take the seedling out of the pot. No root shock! What is this wonderful product you ask?
Yes the empty cardboard your toilet paper comes on is the perfect container for starting seeds. They don’t cost anything. All you have to do is save them up! (yes dear, I know I have saved too many – I need to put the over flow in the compost) Sorry about that note to the hubby.
But this makes starting seeds soooo easy! Just cut 4 little slits (about 1 inch) in one end of the rolls. Then fold them the way you would a box top. You fold over 3 flaps in order. Then as you fold over the 4th flap, tuck the end under the first flap. Easy Peasy!
Now, just fill them, to about 1/2 inch from the top, with a good quality potting soil, that you have mixed with a little ground cinnamon. The cinnamon helps to ward off a fungus called damping off. I place them into a plastic bin* so I can water them from the bottom. That way the seeds are not disturbed when you water them and it encourages the roots to grow long to reach for the water. This plastic bin can be taken right to the garden when it is time to plant.
Now you can plant your seeds right in this soil, or if you are using old seeds or seeds that are hard to germinate, you can sprout them using the paper towel method.
First separate the 2 plys of the paper towel. Using only one ply, cut it to the size you want to work with. Place your seeds on one half and fold over. Drip on a few drops of water, just enough to moisten them. and place them into a Ziploc Sandwich Bag.* Make sure you label the bag so you know which seeds you are planting. Then check them every day for sprouting.
When you see the first sign of germination, carefully tear off a piece of the paper towel which includes the seed, and place it in the potting soil in the toilet paper roll. Sprinkle a little of the potting soil on top and water from the bottom. Make sure you label* them. Then put them in a sunny window or under grow lights* until the soil outside is warm enough for your tender young plants.
When you are ready to plant your seedlings, and you have hardened them off, just take your trowel* and dig a small hole. Place the toilet paper tube, seedling and all right in it. Make sure to leave the 1/2 inch above the soil to act as a collar to discourage cut worms. The soil inside the tube and outside the tube should be at the same level. Firm the soil around the tube and water it in and you are good to go. Your roots will grow right through the cardboard as it decomposes. Remember your new plants will need more frequent watering until the roots get a little longer.
What are you going to grow in your garden this year? Let me know I’d love to hear about it!
And have a Ducky Day!