February 9, 2011

Starting Seedlings: Equipment and Supplies (Part 1)

The year 2011 will be my fifth year starting my own seeds indoors. Each year I learn a few more tricks as well as identify a few more problems. By no means am I an expert on seed starting, but I feel like I'm continually improving my techniques each season.

The basic equipment needed for starting seeds indoors includes:

1) Growing Space- either a countertop, table, grow-shelf, or large area of open floor space. In two different apartments, I have started seeds in areas of unused living room floor. Now that I own a home, I use the built-in benches in my basement (I'm assuming there was a workshop down there at some point). Whatever you use, you'll probably want to cover the area in something waterproof and dirt-proof. Garbage bags will work just fine and old shower curtains are excellent.

2) All-In-One Kit: I feel like in-home seed starting is becoming more and more popular in recent years, so the necessary supplies are becoming increasingly easier to locate. All-In-One kits can range from fairly cheap to inexpensive depending on what they include. On the cheaper end of the spectrum (if you are planning on starting just a few seeds) are windowsill seed starting kits. These usually include a windowsill sized tray, humidity dome, and a number of just-add-water peat pellets. Assuming you get enough sunlight from your window, all you have to do is buy the seeds. Mid-range seed starting kits might include a heating mat. More expensive kits can be purchased that include a complete growth lighting setup. However, if you are starting seeds on a larger scale (like me), all-in-one kits are not very cost effective. With a little ingenuity, you can come up with a setup tailored to your own needs, and it will probably cost you much less money! If that's more your style, continue on with the rest of the list.

3) Watering Can: This one is pretty self-explanatory. However, for very tiny seedlings, watering cans can create a deluge! For young seedlings, use a small cup to dole out the water. Watering from the bottom is another option. If your pots are in a tray, you can pour water directly into the tray. The plants will suck water up through their drainage hole. This generally results in more uniformly moist media. However, don't let your seedlings sit submerged in water for long. Once the moisture has reached the surface soil in each pot, drain off the excess water (or the roots will become oxygen starved and rot).

To be continued...

1 comment:

  1. According to me Orchid food helps in growing the Orchid plant faster and bearing flowers sooner.But the only thing you need to know is whether you are giving the suitable fertilizers to your Orchid plant.

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