More Green For Less Green

Living more eco-friendly for less money


Indoor Seed Starting

I started growing some of my seedlings indoors using the paper towel method that I read about at The Dirty Radish here and here. She refers to it as seed sushi, which I just love to say. Rebel that I am, I decided to start my rolls in lidded Pyrex (which I am obsessed with and own tons of) rather than plastic bags (which I detest, because we have a policy of washing and reusing them and it is a hassle). After a day-and-a-half, I realized that this was a mistake. The rolls dried out way too quickly with the greater air circulation between the rolls and the lid. I am a totally newbie at gardening, and though I have done obsessive amounts of reading, I really don't have much practical experience yet. So, enter the first of many mistakes I am sure to make!

Now ready to actually follow the guidance of others, I sanitized a plastic bag (yes, I actually used my nemesis, bleach) and put the rolls in there, as I should have done from the start. That did the trick! I still need to spritz the rolls about twice a day, but now they never totally dry out.

I am tickled with this method. At one week in, the eggplants and jalapenos were almost free from their seeds and the bell peppers had little root tails. At a week-and-half-in, I was able to plant some of my seedlings. The only bust so far is the rosemary, which is notoriously hard to grow from seed, so I don't feel too bad. Out of 12 seeds, only one shows the slightest sign of growth.

Thrifty girl that I am, I couldn't bring myself to buy labeling sticks when I ran out of the craft sticks I had on hand, so I cut up the lid of a large yogurt container and wrote on the pieces with a Sharpie.

Below is a picture of my set up in the basement with a mix of seedlings in potting soil and seeds still emerging with the paper towel method. The light chain isn't very long, so I've got a combination of the seed tray, egg cartons, and wood stacked under the heat mat to get the seeds close enough to the light. I keep my spray bottle of water upstairs so it stays warmer and doesn't shock my little guys by being too cold. The light is on a timer, I've got it on for 14 hours a day right now. The heat mat (not visible, it is under the green tray) stays on all the time.

Coming up in the world of indoor seed starting: I'll do bergamot (the herb, not the orange) and oregano; then tomatoes, ground cherries, and thyme; then marigolds; and possibly lettuce somewhere in there. After that, it will be time to sow the outdoor seeds.



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