You like to save money any way you can. Buying in bulk, finding affordable online stores like smokingthings and maybe growing a garden in the summer. It can be expensive to buy all of your transplants at a garden center and it is so easy to start plants from seed.
Some people like to use a sunny window, which does work, although you have to remember to turn the containers frequently so that the seedlings don’t grow too tall and leggy. That makes them weak. The best set up is a set of wire or plastic shelves with fluorescent lights above them. You don’t have to buy expensive grow lights, either. Plain old shop lights will do. Hang them by chains using S hooks to allow you to raise or lower them for the height of the plants.
Once you have your growing shelf set up, you will need pots. You can order plastic seedling pots online or buy them at garden centers, but that isn’t really necessary. All kinds of containers can be repurposed for starting seedlings. The plastic boxes mushrooms come in are perfect for starting seedlings. Yogurt cups and anything small will work. Even egg cartons make great seed starting containers. Be sure to poke holes in the bottom for drainage. The plastic boxes that lettuce and salad greens come in can serve as little mini-greenhouses for starting plants.
Planting the Seeds
You can buy seeds online or from a garden center. Buy a bag of soilless mix or potting soil. If you are working in your house, lay down some newspapers for this step. Fill your containers with soil and moisten it thoroughly. Then, following the package directions, plant the seeds in the containers and set them on the shelves under the lights. Be sure to put trays under the containers to catch excess water. Styrofoam meat containers that have been well-washed work great for this.
Caring for the Seedlings
Water the pots every few days with a spray bottle or mister. You want a gentle spray so that you don’t disturb the little seedlings. In 10 to 15 days, most seeds will poke through the soil. Keep them moist but not soaking wet. The soil surface should look like chocolate cake. Raise the level of the lights as the seedlings grow and remember to pinch some back to let the strongest grow to transplant size.
It is very easy and inexpensive to start your own seedlings for transplanting into the garden. It’s a lot of fun, too.