How To Plant Your Garden and Start Seeds Indoors
Starting vegetable and flower seeds at home can really help keep garden costs down and help insure your plants are adapted to your environment.
I seriously love to buy vegetable and flower seedlings. Going to the nursery to pick up plants for our garden, for me, must be how some women feel when they go shopping at Tiffany’s- and at times I could spend as much as some of them too. It’s so easy! Those little, cute, green, baby seedlings add up quick and before I know it, the cart is full, top and bottom, and the register keeps on dinging at check out.
I got tired of trying to feed my addition at the store and decided to start growing vegetable and flower seedling for my garden at home and there are many good reasons why you should too.
5 Reasons Why Homegrown Vegetable and Flower Garden Seedlings Are Better:
Seeds are cheaper than vegetable or flower seedlings.
You can buy 6 seedlings for $4 of 50 seeds for $4. I am not a math nerd, but it’s pretty easy to calculate those savings.
Initial costs of setting up your vegetable and flower seedling area might be high, but are worth it in the end and will save you money over time.
I bet you will still spend less money setting up to grow your seedlings in the first year than you would purchasing seedlings at a big box store. Gathering materials to start your vegetable and flower seedlings, like seed trays and baker’s racks (to store your seedlings in a south facing window), can be as hard as looking on craigslist free section or as easy getting amazon’s home delivery. I have outlined what you need below (in the second half of this blog)- but don’t be afraid to brain storm and come up with your own cheap/efficient seedling starting methods.
Growing your own vegetable and flower seedlings is more sustainable.
You are decreasing your carbon footprint when you start vegetable seedlings yourself. There is less plastic to throw away, no big box store holding your seedlings, and no trucks using gas to get them to you.
Your homegrown vegetable and flower seedlings will be adapted to your growing zone.
When you purchase seedlings there are a few things you need to consider, especially if your like me and your growing zone is different than the closest nursery, Walmart, or Home Depot. You need to look at the seedling variety you are buying and see if the type will work well in your growing zone. Sometimes that’s easy to spot and sometimes your seedling tag just says, “Cherry Tomato”. Well guess what? There are many different kinds of “Cherry Tomatoes”, some are okay with cool nights and short growing seasons, others like long dry seasons. When you pick out your own vegetable and flower seeds, you should be picking the perfect seeds for your growing zone, and while you will still need to harden them off as you move your seedlings outside, they will have a huge advantage over your store bought seedlings that may have been started hundreds of miles away.
You can sell the extra vegetable and flower seedlings to your friends.
This is a way to bring your garden seedling costs down to zero. Plant enough vegetable and flower seedlings to sell on your local social media and craigslist sites. Plant enough to sell to your friends and family or trade them for other homegrown goods. Most cities now also have seed swapping meetings. If you are wanting to see what others are successfully growing and trading in your area- attend one of those events. This will also be a time when you can meet others who may want you to start seedlings for them. Trading seedlings is also a great way to add variety to your garden.
Here is what we used to get our garden seedlings started indoors.
We use the Farmer’s Almanac Garden Planner to plan out our raised beds.
Whether you want to create a square-foot garden for vegetables (which is the method we use), a kitchen garden for herbs, or a beautiful flower garden, their Garden Planner will help you find the best layout for your space. This is an easy to use planner, it does have a subscription cost but it’s worth it. And bonus, you can try it out for free for 7-days. This planner will also tell you which seeds to start indoors and how many of each seed you will need- a HUGE time saver.
We pick out the best seed trays like Burpee’s Self Watering System and resue them over and over- making us more sustainable.
We use self-watering systems. This is really important when it comes to keeping down fungus and fungus gnats. The Burpee Kit linked above is easy to set up and requires little maintenance or watering.* Year two it does not lay as flat and is requiring some maintenance.
We fill up the trays using Sungro Horticulture seed starting soil.
This organic seed starting mix contains Organic Wetting Agent, Perlite, RESiLIENCE®, and Canadian Sphagnum Peat Moss . It holds a lot of water without being soggy- a great benefit to seedling roots. It’s very affordable and easy to find.
We make our own indoor green house using bakers racks found on Amazon surrounded by clear shower curtains from the Dollar Tree.
We don’t have an outdoor greenhouse so using bakers rack’s set up in a south facing window, some lights, and a few other tools is the next best way we start our seedlings (for setup please see the video below).
We use grow mats from Vivosun to help jump start germination.
Heat mats are a great way to get consistent heat to your seeds during germination. Germination (the sprouting of seeds) takes place when soil and moisture needs are combined with the right heat. Germination doesn’t require light so even a warm place like the top of your fridge will work. We also found the heat mats are wonderful for maintaining temperature on seedlings during growth on our cold mountain nights too, as even the window temps can get into the low 50’s.
Watch the video below to see how we get our garden vegetable and flower seedlings going in spring.