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Start Planting Seeds with an Indoor Garden
Has spring fever hit you yet? You don’t have to wait until the last frost to plant seeds. An indoor garden is the perfect way to start plants you grow each year or to try seeds you’ve never planted before.
You can even plant an indoor garden if you don’t have an outdoor garden. Plants improve your home’s indoor air quality, enhance the appearance of your home and provide the perfect bonding experience for your family. Simply start seeds and grow them to maturity indoors with these seven steps.
Start your seeds on a windowsill or in the basement, spare room or sunroom. Plant them in yogurt cups, egg cartons or other small containers that have small drain holes poked in the bottom. Set the containers on a tray before inserting sterile starting soil or compressed peat and the seeds.
Your seeds need up to 18 hours of light a day. Specialty High Intensity Discharge (HID) bulbs and other lighting systems can cost upwards of $500, but fluorescent bulbs in a shop light work just as well. Adjust the light so it’s always about three to four inches above the plant.
For your seeds to thrive, maintain a steady temperature. Between 65 and 75 degrees Fahrenheit is best, but your plants will survive if the temperature fluctuates 10 degrees. To keep the temperature steady, consider placing your plants away from drafty windows.
Dry air inside your home isn’t the best for your little garden. It will make your plant wither and will turn the leaf tips brown. Keep the humidity level steady when you mist the plants with water, run a humidifier or place a tray of water next to the plants.
5. Choose Flowers
With so many choices available, where do you start? Consider these flowers.
- Candytuft Alyssum
- Shasta Daisy
You can also grow fruits from indoor seeds. Try growing strawberries, blueberries, dwarf apple varieties and citrus.
After your seeds mature into seedlings and have at least three leaves, prepare them for outdoor living. They need time to develop a thick cuticle that prevents water loss and protects them outdoors.
At least a week before the transplant date, set your trays in the shade outside for three to four hours. Every day, increase the time by one to two hours. After three days, place the trays outdoors in the morning sun then in the afternoon shade. They’re ready to stay outside all day after seven days, as long as the temperature is at least 50 degrees Fahrenheit.
The seedlings are ready to plant in the ground in about a week. Choose a cloudy day if possible. Give the plants a deep drink of water after they’re in the dirt.
Now that your seedlings are in the ground, keep them slightly damp. They’ll soon grow deep roots and produce the flowers or fruit you’ve been waiting for.
Whether you want to plant dozens of new flowers in your garden or desire to grow a few flowers on your kitchen windowsill, start seeds indoors this year. Enjoy the project as a family, and cultivate seeds that satisfy your green thumb.
by Lindsey Paholski