Rather than write an Article today on Seed Starting, I decided to recommend this Blog from a Follower who  has been starting seeds in her Greenhouse for many years: http://riosambagardening.blogspot.com/

Although I have been starting seeds for years... I start my seeds in Windows in our home, custom built with that in mind... for those of you who have Sun Rooms, don't be afraid to use them as a Grow Room too.  I may do an article on small scale seed starting with Frugal Tips in another Blog especially if there are questions that need to be answered at Readers Requests ... in the meantime there are lots of tips here to 'get you started' *wink I suggest for the small scale seed starter you begin with Tomatoes, Peppers and Melons... as they take a while before they mature and by starting them indoors early, you will have an earlier and thus larger harvest.

Below is an Excerpt from Riosamba's  Blog  Joy of Gardening ... do visit it and check out her other Articles  and Fabulous Photos.  Here are some of her other Blogs which are links worth mentioning: My Favorite Recipes  Riosamba's Zazzle Store  Book Worm Book Reviews


Growing your own seeds is fun and easy.   I have been sowing my seeds in the greenhouse for many years.  Timing is critical for success.  Soon I will be sowing peas in a reusable polystyrene trays with  individualized pyramid shaped cells which virtually  eliminate transplant shock.   I have been using this type of tray for several years.  You may find the trays herehttp://www.groworganic.com/ , those mushroom containers, milk carton, tofu containers, yogurt/pudding cups,  they are all perfect for seeds starting.  First you need to clean the containers with a solution of 9 parts of water and 1 part of  chlorine bleach, followed by thorough rinse with water.  The picture on the left is the polystyrene tray where I sow garden pea seeds.

Need to remember too, peppers, eggplants, tomatoes are slow germinating.  You want this to start early, especially when summer is short in your area.  I sowed tomato seeds in March, peppers a little bit early in January.   The peppers have germinated well,  I spray them with chamomile tea to prevent damping off a fungus type disease.  Broccoli and cauliflower sowed in the greenhouse as well as herb seeds later this month.  The rest such as summer squash, pumpkins, lettuce, collards, kales,  carrots all directly sowed in the garden.

Use sterile soiless seed starting mixes.  Either you make them yourself or store bought. Do not use garden soil as this contains weed seed, harbor diseases and tend to be muddy, hard and reducing germination and root growth.  Seed-starting mix containing sphagnum, vermiculite, limestone, and gypsum.

Read the seed packet for intructions and carefully determine when you have to start sowing, and  tinning the seedlings.  Germination can vary from few days to several weeks.  This depending on what variety of seeds you are sowing.  With my experience, you need to sow the seed thinly, over crowding will produce weak seedlings.  Into medium barely cover seed with starting soil and gently press into mixture.

Label and date each variety as you work.  This is important, if not you will forget which variety of seed you sowed.  Water lightly with a spray bottle.  Keep the soil moist as this important for gemination.  Then cover flats with clear plastic and keep out of direct sunlight.

Remember to remove cover for an hour or two everyday to provide air circulation.  Most seeds germinate well between 70-75F.  I used heating cable that is burried under soil and the containers or flats I rest on it.  It worked well as long as you keep the heating cable on all the time.  Don't forget to remove covers once 50 to 70% germinated.  Remove flats or containers from heat to prevent seedlings grow thin and leggy.

Place seedlings in a bright, sunny window or if you are lucky a greenhouse.  If you do not have adequate light use artificial light 12 to 14 hours each day.  I used plant fluorescent light in the green house after dusk.  I keep checking the seedlings for fungus diasese.  This is their crucial time.  Seedlings require little fertilizer.  As they mature apply your favorite fertilizer

It is so much easier to thin seedling when they are larger. generaly 1-2" tall.  Thinning is necessary to prevent crowding.

Before transplanting in the garden, acclimate the seedlings outdoors 1to 2 weeks,  this is called hardening off.  Select spot out of direct sunlight and away from wind.  If nights are still cold bring them inside.  After several days, provide 3 to 4 hours direct morning or afternoon sun.  Gradually increase daily exposure to sunlight.

Move young plants to garden for transplating preferably on cloudy day or late afternoon to minimize transplanting shock.   Set out hardy plants after heavy frost has passed.  Set out sensitive plants once night time above 58F.  I covered sensitive plants with a sheet when the forcast called for low temperature.

Happy Gardening !
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On 3:06 AM , Riosamba said...

Hi Bren, I am thrilled that you add my blog to yours. I have just started bloging recently. Thank you....

On 4:39 PM , LambAround said...

Thank you for the gardening tips. I have the WORST luck with plants! Lol, seriously, I'm so bad that my husband says I'm not to touch the plants, no matter what! Maybe this year will be different :)


On 2:06 PM , bren said...

Your welcome Danielle. Enjoy your humor at your blog www.Lambaround.blogspot.com Especially your cartoons of and about Sexy Nerd. Good Luck with your plants this year...