Wednesday, February 6, 2013

Starting the Seedlings...and getting sprouts on the third day!

It's time to start our seedlings indoors! For the first year in Oklahoma we are trying to be thrifty as possible. My son is cutting milk jugs. 

They serve a multi purpose. The bottom can be used for trays and the tops for 'mini-greenhouses' for the garden.

My son modeling empty bottles to use in our pots at the bottom instead of rocks. They weigh less!

My son models the keurig cups we reuse (I have another post about that). 

You can fill each milk jug bottom with 6-7 cups.

This year I am using Jiffy seed starting mix that is organic. I found it has the lowest salt content. 

We fill them and place them in the container.

We have lots of help this year!

I then look to see how long it will take for everything to germinate. Some take 20 days so those I want to start now. You try to time it with the last day of frost. But with my daffodils blooming, I can start these seedlings if I make sure to cover them when I transplant them.

I then name the side of the trays (I also reuse egg containers but they absorb water so make sure these seeds do not dry out).

I saturate the soil in each cup.

We then take a pen and poke holes down depending on the depth each seed will need to germinate.

I then place each seed in and cover lightly.

I then place plastic wrap over each container. I use 'packing tape' and tape it to the side. Egg cartons don't stick as well once wet but they still work.

I do one last spray mist over the seeds.

I cover and on this side I actually fold the tape over.

That way you can pull it back when watering. 

Here I show the seeds covered.
Make sure to use a piece of packing tape to secure any unused seeds.

Now to the lights...:) I put a piece of foil down and place christmas lights over each one. This creates a warming effect from below which warms up the soil.

I then use a tote topper to place over the lights and place the egg cartons on top. Remember those containers absorb water so they will be very moist and you do not want to get water on the lights. 

This is my son helping the assembly line by placing seeds at the approximate depth.

We also label each container with the seed's contents. I am showing the milk jug version.

If you have seeds that need to soak, soak them and keep them out so you don't forget about them. Have their trays ready to go.

The milk jug bottoms can be laid directly on the lights. Just make sure no water gets on the lights. 

This is marigolds on day three! Once they start to grow, please remove the covering so they have room to grow up. You will need to keep the room well ventilated by running a small fan on the seedlings to discourage mildew growth and to strengthen young plants for transplanting them outside.