Hey everyone! 🌺🌱🍅🌻
I’ve been working hard in the garden as of late. I started all my pepper and tomato seedlings indoors, what a mess!
They all did great and have been transplanted into the garden as of last weekend.
(Note: Remember to plant your seedlings with the spacing guided on the back of your seed packets- I ALWAYS save my seed packets in case I need to reference.)
I’ve introduced an irrigation system, expanded the garden by 5, added raspberries, blueberries, kiwi trees, apple trees, pecan trees, a lilac tree, onions, garlic, and plenty more NEW plants I’ve never planter before! I also added a patch specifically for corn 🌽 !!!!!
In addition, I now have a bumblebee themed butterfly/ bird garden, and last but not least…. A COMPOST pile! Yay! It is the UGLY lattice enclosure in the middle. :)
I want to elaborate on a few tips for starting seedlings indoors and on many things I’ve learned in the process Of building the garden beds, to planting the trees and how to prepare your soil! But First! We will start with seedlings today since for most northerners at least, they might still be able to start some indoors :)
#1: Starting Seedlings Indoors
You need to be prepared, make a list of what seeds you want to grow, seed starting pods, seed starter soil and a small watering can, as you will be having to water these almost daily. Also, if you do not have a bright room for the seedlings, you will need to invest in some grow lights. Try to find yourself some sort of small fan that is moveable, I found one that clipped onto my door. Neem Oil Spray. Lastly, to keep mold from growing you will also need a couple of spray bottles from the dollar store, and a bottle of 3% hydrogen peroxide. I will explain later.
Feel free to run through the slideshow below for what I specifically used this year.
(Note - There is a heating pad in the slideshow, for when it gets cold or your seedlings need a little more warmth.... I would not recommend this one, as it seemed to put out next to no heat at all. My front room got cold at night so I thought to try this out, with no luck.)
Not all seeds have to be started indoors, but tomatoes, peppers, and some herbs DO REQUIRE to be started indoors.
If you do buy grow lights it is recommended 16-18 hours ON.
Grow Light Product Links:
Let's get those seeds in their pods!
Make sure you are using SEED STARTER, for your seedlings. This soil is nice and fluffy and perfectly formulated for your seeds. Miracle Grow garden soil is not recommended until they have reached their maturity for transplant. Please don't use the heavy soil, as your seedling will not make it.
IF you chose to use JIFFY pre-loaded pods (these you add water too and they pop up, then you have no need to buy starter seed soil, as they come prepped in pellets.
Sow about 2-3 seeds into each pod - I use my finger to create a little hole and gently coverup with the soil.
Move the seedlings into a brightly lighted room - sun is recommended but for seedlings bright light is enough. IF you don't have a space like this, please find yourself some grow lights and set up an area that can handle 16-18 hours of light a day.
Get out that watering can and be Patient! You are ready to rock n' roll!
#2: Care and Maintenance
Caring for your seedlings - You will follow the packet instructions / put a couple seeds in each pod. REMEMBER the seedlings will need to be watered daily, put that reminder in your calendar!
When they get their true leaves after a couple weeks or so depending on what you plant, you will need to remove all but one seedling (the strongest). You will notice your plants getting "leggy" if you let 3 seedlings fight for sunshine and the nutrients in the soil.
"Leggy" means becoming tall and gangly/ not being able to hold itself up.
***Here is a little video to help you save "leggy" seedlings!***
"True Leaves" = when a tomato comes up for example it only has 2 small leaves, then it grows the 3rd/4th that looks different, you can see this on zucchini plants/ cucumbers as well. It is a 3rd leaf. When you see this, it is time to cut back the herd of seedlings, or gently repot if the other seedling(s) are strong enough.
Image pulled from: https://growfully.com/true-leaves/
*** Below is more information on how to identify when your seedling has gained its true leaves.***
In the process of watering, you may see some white mold starting on the soil, this is where your spray bottle and fan is going to come into play! This part is very important, and can also be noted as a way to clean up your "house plants" if they ever show signs of the same mold. Note that you only need to spray the soil, and repeat it once a week until it disappears. Mine was gone within 2 weeks and after that was no longer needed.
PROCESS FOR 3% Hydrogen:
- Mix 1 part of 3% hydrogen peroxide with 4 parts water. (I know that sounds geeky, so to put it in layman terms..... (I would not recommend the 35%, you may try if you like).
***Click below for the fan I used. ***
#3: Last But NOT LEAST
When do I transplant the seedlings into the outdoor garden?
This depends solely on when you started the seeds and what zone you live in (assuming United States). Each seed packet will give you the zone and when to start indoors / when to plant outside based on your location. In addition, your seedlings should be 2-3 inches tall before moving outdoors. Be PATIENT this can take up to a month and a half depending on your plant type.
Feel free to contact me if you have any questions or concerns, hang in there while I prepare other tips and tricks for a happy, healthy garden!