Friday, March 14, 2014

Starting seeds

Its a little late, but not too late to start your cold season seeds.  This includes Peppers, Broccoli, Cabbage, Cauliflower, and Eggplant for me. 

OK! So In the above picture we have pepper seed a towel and a pen.  Make sure your ink does not dissolve in water!  Just write on a towel and test, it will be obvious.  Make sure to label if you got lots of varieties.  What I show here with peppers can be done with all the vegetables. 

First thing you may want to do is to find out how many days until frost free day for your area.  My frost free day is May 10th or so.  So I start peppers 10 weeks before that.  Tomatoes 6-8 weeks before,  Broccoli 6 weeks.  Broccoli and cabbage can be put out on cold days so you may want to start them sooner.

Here's the towel method.
Get the towel wet, then add the dry seed.  Give them some space so they don't get roots all tangled up for transplant.
Roll it up like this

In a container, put about this much water

You can Add 1 drop of bleach to prevent your seed from being all moldy, but not usually necessary.

Put your towels in with one or both ends touching the water to keep the seed moist.  I rubber banded the packet's on these beakers.

Cover with plastic to retain moisture and put in a warm place.  These are on my heating vent.
So that's it.  Ideally you want 80 F temps and all this stuff will sprout in a week.  At the store you can get those covered seed trays with the peat pot's, but plastic bags work just great.

So here's some sprouted seed

You can use trays, dirt in cups, peat pellets, empty cans, whatever.  It needs to drain excess water and hold some sort of soil material.  

A little seed progression in the peat pots
Another method that works well is putting a bunch o seeds in a pot together to sprout.  (The local greenhouse does it this way) There are seed sprouting mixes for this and it's super easy.
Once sprouted you gently separate the seedlings  As long as you don't break them they do great.
Put em in, and cover the roots

Away you go!
Get them under a grow light  asap.  Keep the light low and close.  Use  can use aluminum foil on both sides (only one side shown in this pic).  This will reflect any unused light back on the plants.  I usually do 12 hour timer cycles.  Rusted garden link below show's light setup so just go off of that. 

**** A heat mat for veggies is also very nice and can speed up growth

When those roots fill the peat pellet's, or get too big for what's in the trays.  I like to transfer into peat pots or make my own newspaper pots

You just roll it up, push it in, and tape somewhere.  The trick with newspaper and other papery things is to let it dry out a little.  Picking up a wet newspaper pot for transplanting the plant makes a huge mess.  If your trays are wet the day of transplant you will have this problem.

The rusted veggie guy's blog did some nice youtubes on all this stuff.   He does a great job and I like his setup.  So check it out.


  1. I'm trying to learn by following these written instructions. I'll keep letting you know how its going..