This week my friend Tayla Nakita came over to visit and we were talking gardens and planning one for her family in South Africa, when she asked me to teach her how to start seeds.
Gardening with friends? Oh yes, I am in!
Look at us pre-gardening glamour. The pos-gardening pictures were lost unfortunately. We had soil on our faces lol
Since my seed packages had already arrived last week and the time is perfect to start some early spring leafy crops, we got right to it. After all, there’s no better way to learn something than actually doing it.
We gathered everything we would need: the mixing bowl, organic potting soil, pittmoss (which is a a wonderful, sustainable peat moss alternative), name tags, a few left over seed starting plucks and biodegradable containers I had from last year, egg cartons and paper rolls to DIY little starters.
We were starting seeds of Kale, Bok Choy, Leek, Broccoli Romanesco, Spinach, Artichoke and Pomegranate.
First I put my seed starters plucks in a tray with filtered water so they would hydrate and expand.
Then I mixed equal parts of my organic seed starting mix and pittmoss to make the seed starting medium extra light to nurse the seeds.
I wanted to teach her different ways to DIY seed starters containers so I made some using an egg carton and paper rolls.
I cut the egg cartons top parts off so I would compost it latter. The bottom part would be filled with the seed starting mix and each little cell becomes a seed starting container.
With the paper rolls you have to cut them into 3" pieces then make four 1" cuts in the bottom. Then you fold the little tabs in a way that their sides overlap and lock into each other so it would secure the growing medium. This part can get a little tricky. I will make a video in the future showing how I do it to help with the visuals.
Then after feeling each little container with the seed starting mix, we made a small little hole and added three seeds of whatever we were growing. That’s to be safe, at the end you will eliminate (or trim) the weak sprouts. At the end each container will grow only one plant.
It’s very important to add a name tag to you seedlings so you know what they are letter on! Seedlings of the same family can be very similar and a new gardener would easily mix up watermelon seedlings for zucchinis, for example. I use wood skews because it’s what I have been using for a while and what I had at the moment but there’s plenty of other things you can use, which is pretty much anything you can write on and get wet.
Cover your seeds lightly and spray water the soil to make it moist. And keep it ALWAYS like that. Even the smallest water stress can kill a fragile sprouting seed. To avoid the soil to dry out we cover the container until the seedlings sprout. Once they do, uncover the container. People usually use small green houses for that process. I’ve talked about them before.
Your seeds won’t need full sun until they sprout, but once they do give them plenty of light, at least 8 hours. I’ve grown seedlings in six hours of sun only, but it’s very frustrating for most of them don’t make it. Growing lights are ideal but they can take a lot of room!
Check on your seedlings everyday if you can for they need close care, but don’t get discouraged if you fail the firsts times. Growing seeds indoors is quite a task, so take it lightly and be a sport. Don't stress too much over it - which is definitely easier said than done, but keep the advice anyway.
The key to succeed is to never give up, to be patient, learn as you go but specially to. have fun and love your seedlings! One day they will become big wonderful plants that will bring you much joy!
I hope you guys are already starting seeds too and if you have any questions, suggestions or just feel like reaching out send me a message or email, I’d be more than happy to hear from you!