Starting seeds indoors and then transferring them to larger container gardens, means you can grow vegetables for the family practically year-round. If you choose the proper containers, you create the potential to grow a substantial amount of fresh food – right in the pots!
To get started you will want a comfortable work space with either a larger container underneath to catch any dirt that may fall, or work in an area that is dirt friendly.
You can easily spend $50 – $100 on seed starter bio-domes, or you can simply make your own.
We used a dollar store container with a clear plastic snap on lid to create a “greenhouse effect”. We also saved our toilet paper rolls and re-purposed them by cutting each in half to make individual little cups for the seedlings.
Healthy soil or potting soil is needed to get your little plants off to a good start. You’ll require a couple of inches of soil for each seedling cup. Add about a half inch of healthy soil into the bottom of your tray or container, then set the paper cups inside. The soil will help to hold them in place, and also serves as a way of holding moisture in your mini greenhouse.
Spoon most of the soil into the cups, then drop the seedlings into each. Large seeds will require only 2 or 3 in each container. Smaller seeds can germinate with 3 to 6. Be sure to read your seed packets and follow their basic guidelines. You’ll find links at the bottom of this post to help you decide which seeds to buy.
Cover the seeds with the remaining soil and water them in. Do not over water. Water only into the main bottom pan and not into each individual cup. The soil in the bottom of the tray should be good and moist, but not too wet. You can add extra moisture to the seed cups with a spray bottle, or by spooning it in.
Don’t cover seeds that need light to germinate with soil. Check the seed packet for special germination requirements. You can gently pat the surface of the mix to be sure it has good contact with the seeds. After placing the plastic lid on top, your seedling container is ready to sit in a windowsill or on a patio to get a few rays. The sunlight and the moisture covered with the plastic lid will cause your little greenhouse to sweat. Keep an eye on it to make sure it does not dry out.
Once seeds have taken root and have grown little root bundles, you can transplant them carefully to larger pots. Seeds that tolerate this type of planting well are: broccoli, Brussels sprouts, cabbage, cauliflower, celery, eggplant, leeks, onions, parsley, peppers, and tomatoes.
Tips for planting in pots:
Use a quality mix with perlite and peat moss. Add fertilizer, either a dry organic product ― such as one containing alfalfa meal, or kelp meal, or other natural nutrients ― or a controlled-release type of fertilizer that will supplies nutrients over a longer time period.
Soil polymers such as Broadleaf P4 added to the mix before planting will help keep the plants moist. These are not hard to find, and can be purchased at most any garden store.
You can grow your vegetables indoors, as long as they can get about 6 hours of sunlight every day. Placing lightweight pots on a cart or wagon with wheels is important if you will have to cart them in and out every day.
While this is certainly not a comprehensive guide for growing indoors, it will get you started as you learn more about the process. You’ll need to make adjustments according to nursery recommendations in your area.
Planting seedlings indoors . . . now THAT works for me!