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How to Start Your Seeds Indoor

By Charles Hopkins Published 04/23/2006 | Hobbies
A great way to jump-start your garden and save money is to start your plants indoor before planting season. You will also be sure of the conditions the plants were grown in, unlike plants bought in stores. There are a few tricks to know to make your seedlings thrive.

To start, you must choose appropriate containers for your seedlings. The best ones to use are wood pulp pots or peat pellets. It's less trouble for you and healthier on the seedlings, since you can plant them directly in the ground. But you can use any small containers, like egg boxes or yogurt containers. Just make sure there are holes at the bottom for drainage.

You must also fill the pots with appropriate soil. Any well-drained soil will do, but it is best to use sterilized, store-bought soil instead of soil from outside. This way, you can be sure it doesn't contain any fungus or illness which could be dangerous for young plants. And you do not want to bring all the insects and worms from outside into your house!

You can now plant your seeds in the containers. Follow the instructions on the seed packages for depth. You do not need to put many seeds in a pot. Just a few will do.

You should now water your seeds. When you are done, cover the pots to conserve moisture and place them in a hot place. Keep them out of direct sunlight. They do not need any sunlight at this stage anyway, but keep an eye out to make sure they have enough water.

Once the seeds have germinated, they will need more sunlight. Move them to the brightest spot you can find, preferably a south-facing window. You will have to be even more careful now and water them often, since small pots cannot hold a lot of water. Also, the seedlings are fragile at this stage, so do not drown them or cause them to break by watering too fast.

If the seedlings get too big for their pots before planting season, you can move them to bigger pots to make sure they stay healthy and strong.

When you have a week or so to go before moving them to your garden, bring them outside during the day to harden them. Do not put them in direct sunlight at first and bring them back inside during the night.

And finally, when your plants have grown enough (with at least four leaves) and the weather is warm enough, you can move them to your garden.

If you did not plant them in pellets or wood pulp pots, you will need to remove them from their pot with a blunt tool, like a table knife, while you support the plant with your fingers. Dig a hole slightly deeper than the height of the pot, lower the plant in the hole and firm the soil gently around the stem. Water them carefully and your garden is ready to go! function SubmitRating(btn) { ratingchecked = false; if (btn.form.aRating0.checked) ratingchecked = true; if (btn.form.aRating1.checked) ratingchecked = true; if (btn.form.aRating2.checked) ratingchecked = true; if (btn.form.aRating3.checked) ratingchecked = true; if (btn.form.aRating4.checked) ratingchecked = true; if (ratingchecked) { btn.form.btnRating.value=btn.value; btn.form.submit(); } else { alert("Be sure a rating value has been selected to continue."); } }