Mindy McIntosh-Shetter AKA Mindar the gardening gnome and guest blogger is back! Mindy has a graduate degree in Agriculture Education from Purdue University and is presently finishing her Masters from the University of Louisville in Environmental Education and Urban Planning. She shares with us below how to start your own seedlings.
by Mindy McIntosh-Shetter
Many gardeners walk through the nursery this time of year dreaming about flowerbeds and vegetable gardens full of plants and blooms. While these stores do provide a vast variety of plant material, the type of store and the market determines the varieties available. This fact can be limiting for some gardeners or limit ones ability to garden due to budget restraints. One way of removing these limitations is by starting your own plants from seed.
Starting plants from seed is one type of plant propagation and the easiest. It requires few materials and/or tools. And can be done practically anywhere.
To begin the process one needs some basic supplies, this includes seeds, soil, and containers. Seeds can be acquired from some garden clubs, neighbors or fellow gardeners or purchased. When purchasing seeds always look at the date on the package and make sure that the plant is compatible to your USDA Plant Hardiness Zone.
Next, you will need soil. Soil is a general term that can include several different ingredients. Most commercially created soils contain soil, vermiculite or perlite, sand, compost, and/or peat moss. But for the beginning garden a simple, all-purpose soil that is light and loose will be fine.
The last item one will need is a container. A container can be anything that holds soil but it needs a drainage hole. Also, it does not need to be any deeper than 2 inches. Using a container deeper than this is just wasting soil.
Once you have all your materials together, it is time to begin the planting process. This process starts with cleaning the container. To do this, simply place the container in water that has one cap full of bleach in it. Let the container soak to loosen any soil or debris, rinse, and then allow to air dry.
After the container has dried, fill with pre-moistened soil. Once the container is filled, gently tap the container on a hard surface. Now you are ready to plant your seed.
Learn the next steps involved in this wonderful process by reading the next installment of A Beginner’s Guide to Growing Plants from Seed-Part 2.