Now that the New Year is behind us and we are in the middle of winter, it's nice to daydream about starting spring gardens! Starting seeds in your home is a great way to break the winter monotony and prepare for an amazing garden come spring and summertime!
Starting off with seeds can offer you an opportunity to grow unique flowers and vegetables that may be otherwise difficult to find in plant form come spring. It's also a more economical way to garden long term! Seed sowing should not be an intimidating process and with these tips, we hope to inspire you to start your plant planning this winter!
1. Find the Right Seeds For You
When buying seeds you should think about what it is you are looking to grow, where you will be putting these plants and when it will be time to transplant them outside. Are you looking for some nice colorful annuals for your planters, maybe some unique heirloom vegetables, or perhaps you're hoping to have an early start to your herb garden? Either way it is always good to go in with a plan when deciding on which seeds to start.
2. Find a Trusted Source For Your Seeds
Seeds are living things in a dormant state so, like all living things, we want to make sure that they are in good hands prior to when we begin to sow them. There are plenty of great seed companies out there, but we here at the Barn Owl trust Renee’s Garden seeds. They search high and low to ensure their catalog has a unique variety of seeds while focusing on sustainability.
3. Find a Nice Place to Help Your Seeds Grow
When we think of where to start our seeds, we start by thinking of what the ideal setting is for these seeds if they were able to start outdoors. The answer is a nice, warm, sunny spring day so the next question is how can we do our best to recreate that. We recommend looking for an area in your house that gets natural light and stays nice and warm for these plants. If that does not exist then we recommend investing in a grow light (and in some cases a heating pad to supply it that extra warmth) to supply your new seeds with the light and warmth that they crave!
4. Gather Your Supplies
When thinking about starting your seeds you will need to think of things like pots or trays to start in and a nice seed starting blend for soil. The decision between pots and trays depends on how many plants you plant to start. Both of these will work just fine though trays will allow you to start more plants in less space if that’s what you’re going for! No matter which one you pick, look for them to have nice drainage to prevent your soil from getting soggy. As far as soil goes, a nice seed starting solid will do wonders. We tend to stick with organic soils so our go-to is Purple Cow Seed Starting Soil. The advantages of this soil are it is a very fine mix which allows for the roots to easily grow in it, and it has its signature living compost which will help boost your seedling growth!
5. Time for the Fun Part - Planting!
Now it is time to begin the planting process for your seedlings. The first thing we recommend is to let the seeds soak in warm water in a nice dark place for 24 hours. This allows the shell to soften and the seed to easily break through the shell once it’s planted.
Next, you want to put the seed in your fresh soil. A general rule of thumb is to plant about three times the size of the seed deep in the soil (always refer to the seed packet as some seeds may have different directions). Once in the soil, dampen the solid with water.
Keep your seeds in a warm, well-lit area. Also, you will want to keep the soil moist. This is where thinking of a warm spring day comes in handy. The seed is happy when the soil is moist, like those misty spring days, and not soggy. If the soil is soaked it can rot the seed or promote disease.
Look at the back of the seed label for an idea of germination rate and watch your new plants grow!
For us, starting seeds indoors allows us to daydream about the upcoming spring. It is fun to imagine cutting your homegrown Zinnias for a nice bouquet or picking that first heirloom tomato of the season. No matter what you plant, we hope this helps you dream about what’s in this year’s garden. Be sure to let us know what you're thinking about starting from seed this year and share pictures of the fruit of your labor come spring!
What do you plan to plant for your 2021 garden?