Starting your own plants from seeds to the novice and sometimes even the experienced gardener seems like an overwhelming task. It just seems so complicated and such a big production, when in reality it is very simple with a little planning and not much effort. If you have a room that receives six or so hours of sun a day and stays between 55 and 70 degrees you are all set. If you do not have an area that receives this much sunlight you can still start your own seeds with the use of a grow light. The main things is to provide enough bright light to keep your plants full and compact and not let them grow leggy and too thin. Providing the right amount of light will prevent you from having a problem with them growing leggy.
Once you have figured out where you are going to grow your plants then you are ready to germinate your seeds.You will need a few different things so here to make the job easy plastic germinating tray, a plastic dome cover for each germinating tray, plant cell packs and flats, seed starting mix, and some potting soil. You can purchase seed starting mix along with flats and everything you need at the local garden center for less than twenty five dollars.
When germinating seeds it is very important the you use thoroughly clean equipment and soil that is free of pathogens. Best to use fresh starting mix to avoid disease and parasites from attacking the germinating seedlings.
Place starting mix in bottom of the germinating tray 2″ should be enough and then moisten slightly. Next take the seeds and scatter them about on the surface and the cover with about an 1/8th inch of soil and moisten. Next place the plastic dome on top and set aside in a warm place to germinate. The seed packet will tell you how the seeds should be sown and whether they require light or darkness for germination. Keep an eye on the dome to see if moisture is building up on the dome lid if there is no moisture you may need to water the mix some more. If moisture on the lid is excessive you may need to remove the dome untill the mix dries a little.
Once the seed has germinated be sure to move to a sunny room or place a grow light over the germinating tray. After the first set of true leaves have formed it is time to transplant them on to peat pots or grow pack cells.
When it is time to transplant your seedlings prepare your cell packs or pear pots by filling them with good clean potting soil. Once your growing containers are ready bring the germinating tray over and place near the planting containers. Take a Popsicle stick and push it under the plants and lift gently this will loosen the plants from the soil and help untangle any roots. Now take your finger and place a hole in the middle of the growing container then gently lift the plant from the soil by grabbing the cotyledon leaves (the first set of leaves to emerging during germination) do not grab the stem as this will crush it and kill the plant. Gently set the plant in the hole and firm soil around the plant. When you are done place the plants in the bright room or under the grow lights and keep the plants moist not wet untill they have grown large enough to move outside.
Two weeks before you are ready to plant outside place the plants out side in a semi shady location for several hours each day so they can get accustomed to the temperatures and sunlight. Do not start out by setting them in direct sun or they will burn up do it slowly by exposing them to direct sun a bit more every couple of days. Once they are hardened off you can plant them out in the garden and be proud that you have grown these fine plants from seed.