It is very rewarding and fun to plant your own vegetables from seed. Here are 8 easy steps to follow to be successful at growing your own vegetables from seed.
1. First is to get some potting soil, choose organic if you plan on growing fully organic vegetables. I pour a good amount into a mop bucket and wet it down with water. You want it wet enough that when you grab a handful it sticks together, but not dripping. Mix well with the water. This step is especially important if the potting soil you buy is dry. It will have a hard time absorbing the moisture if you skip this step.
2. Next fill the containers you plan on using for the seeds. It is good to start out with fairly small containers so that the moisture will reach the seeds easily, but for large seeds like for squash you can start out with a larger container. Also choose containers that drain water out of the bottom so that the seedlings do not drown if watered too much. As the seedling grows, you can transplant them to lager containers. Press down the soil into the container so that there are no air pockets making sure not to pack the potting soil in too tightly as the seedling needs oxygen.
3. Then I take an old pencil or pen and make a couple of holes to drop in the seeds then gently cover with soil. Watch the seed packets to see how deep the seeds need to be, but at least twice the length of the seed is usually the general rule for seeds.
4. Place the containers in a tray, and place a plastic cover over the top. This is only used until the seeds germinate. It raises the temperature of the soil and helps it to retain the moisture for the seeds.
5. Be sure to water them before you put them in the light garden. Then place them under lights in a light garden with the lights just above the plastic.
6. Keep the lights on for 16 hours a day. We use a timer so that we do not have to keep track turning on and off the lights for the light garden.
7. Keep them moist, but do not over water as this will cause the seedling to rot. Stick your finger in the soil and if it is moist, it is fine, if it is not then water from the bottom to stimulate root growth and keep from allowing mold to grow on the surface of the soil.
8. As soon as the seedlings pop up, take off the plastic cover and keep a close eye on them, raising the lights to 2 inches above the seedlings all the time. Transplant into bigger pots when the soil starts to dry out every day.
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