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Sunday, February 14, 2016

Make It From Scratch: Planting Seeds Indoors

 Hi everybody, it's time to start planting our Herb Garden and Dye Garden seeds! If you're just joining us, check out these posts to choose your seeds and gather what you need to start them inside.

Here in Zone 5, it's time to start the seeds that need 10-12 weeks of protected growth. In about three months, it will be time to move them outside to the garden. I started with indigo and madder for the Dye Garden, and basil, rosemary, cat grass, and catnip for the Herb Garden. I also started some vegetables, unrelated to our project gardens: celery, lettuce, artichokes, spinach, and leeks, plus little viola flowers.

The indigo and madder seeds both need to be soaked for 24 hours before planting, so I put them in cups of water the day before I wanted to plant. These seeds also need to be planted in wet soil, so I again pre-watered the pots I planned to use. 

You should pre-water all your soil-filled pots, and especially the seed-starting pellets, so the seeds can start absorbing water as soon as they're planted. If the soil is dry, it can hold on to the first water you give it instead of letting the seeds take it. 

The rest of the seeds can be planted without pre-soaking. Place one or two seeds in each starter pot, cover it with a little more soil (read the seed packet to see how deeply to plant each type of seed), and press down gently. 

Then gently water them with a watering can or use a spray bottle to mist the top of the soil. I've been misting mine, so that I don't disturb the seeds. I mist quite a bit to make sure the seeds are wet enough. They need to stay moist, so don't be stingy with water. But don't flood them, either. They shouldn't be sitting in a puddle of water. 

Next put on the clear plastic cover, which creates a greenhouse effect, trapping the moisture and heat inside to help the seeds germinate. If you don't have a cover, you can use a cute cloche, any clear glass dish or bowl, or even plastic wrap to cover the pots.


Add a plant marker, so you'll know which plants are which.

You can write the plant names on popsicle sticks, make cute homemade markers, or use store-bought plant markers. Or make a diagram of the planting tray on a piece of paper and jot down which type of seeds are in each row. Anything that helps you keep track of what's what will be fine.

You should check on your seeds each day, misting or watering them when the soil looks dry. The seed packets will say how many days it will take until the seeds germinate, so you'll know how long you have to wait until you see little sprouts. In the meantime, keep the soil damp but not soaking wet. Keep the temperature as stable as you can by reducing drafts and using a clear cover to help keep the seeds warm.

Planting in Large Pots

I also planted a few things that I'll grow in larger pots, rather than transplanting them into the garden. I can move the pots outside for the spring and summer and let the plants grow on my porch. In the fall, I'll bring them back inside where they can keep growing through the winter. 

I love having fresh herbs year-round, and they can be so expensive to buy in the winter. It will be great to have basil all the time! I'm also growing some spinach and lettuce in pots, which taste so much better when they're fresh. And I planted catnip and cat grass for our pet to nibble on. 

To start seeds in these larger pots, I filled them most of the way with regular potting soil. Then I put a layer of seed starting soil on top. That way the seeds have the best medium to get started, and the plants have the best medium to grow in once their roots go deeper. 

We'd love to hear what you're growing, and we'd be happy to answer any questions you have!

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