Living in Colorado can be challenging when it comes to gardening. Having a shorter growing season than some of the warmer states makes it harder to get a good harvest. One way to get a head start on the season is to start by growing your seeds indoors. I have started seeds inside now for a few years and I have learned a few tips and tricks along the way.
I have both failed miserably at starting seeds and have impressed myself with some amazing vegetables. Here are my tips on starting seeds indoors. Be sure to read the last paragraph if you would like to know the easiest and fastest way to get amazing transplants every time!
Here is what you will need for the traditional seed starting method:
I’m sure you can figure out the first part of growing the seeds. Planting them. Fill your tray with soil and use a pencil to make a small seed hole. I usually put a few seeds in the hole so something will germinate.
Secret seed starting trick 1:
It’s easiest to start with already wet dirt instead of watering the seeds after you are done. This way the seeds don’t wash away.
Label your tray so you don’t forget what you planted where. Place your seeds covered on a heat mat. Once the seeds sprout, you can turn the heat off. Seeds like to be warm to encourage them to start growing.
Seed Starting tip number 2:
fill the bottom tray with water. Seeds need to be constantly wet. Filling the bottom of the tray with water ensures that the seeds won’t run out of water and will make the roots reach down deeper for the water.
Once the seeds have sprouted, make sure they get enough light. This is the biggest and sometimes hardest part of growing seeds inside.
Seed Starting tip number 3:
Place your grow light close to the plants so they don’t bolt and try to reach for the light. Keep the light on as much as you can. Plants like 16 hours of light a day. (see pic below for what leggy plants look like)
Once the sprouts are tall enough, remove the lid. If you have cats like me, prepare for a battle with them eating the seeds.
For the sprouts that have more that one plant sharing a hole, pick out the weakest stems and feed them to your cat. (Just kidding don’t encourage them. ?) This will let the surviving seed become stronger without competing for everything.
Make sure you keep the bottom tray filled with water and soon your seeds will be all grown up and ready to go outside.
Secret Tip number 4:
Before bringing them out, take them out slowly for a few hours each day, so they can get used to the elements.
And, if you want to know the easiest, no fuss way to get seeds with no hassle or headaches, the answer is to buy an Areogarden. Yep, it is kind of like cheating. I am not even being paid to say this! The Aerogarden took all of the problems of not enough light or water and just allowed me to plant seeds and forget about them! And they are 5 times bigger and stronger than my tray seeds. If you have the means, I definitely recommend this way of seed starting!
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Have you started seeds indoors? What are your tips and tricks? We would love to know in the comments!