Thursday, March 26, 2015

Seed Starting

Guest Post By Lindsay del Carlo, Trial Garden Manager of Renee's Garden Seeds. 
Renee's Garden Seeds are available at The Rosemary House (scroll down the page).

You don’t need to have a fancy set up to successfully grow your garden seedlings. Many people have that one cabinet or drawer full of plastic containers that have lost their lids, a stack of yogurt cups that have long been forgotten or the clear plastic "clamshell" containers that you’ve kept around, and maybe an empty plastic milk jug or two. Disposable containers can receive new life by using them to start seeds.

Containers that are about no more than 3 inches deep are perfect for seed varieties that will be sown close together and then transplanted. I am using these to grow tomatoes, eggplant, peppers, basil and spring flowers like calendula, bachelor buttons, Agrostemma, and Clarkia. This will insure that I’m able to scoop up all of the roots with minimal damage when transplanting. Small yogurt cups work perfectly as individual containers to sow large seed varieties like pumpkin and squash.

Food and yogurt containers or milk jugs with their bottoms cut off will need to have drainage holes. Use a drill with a ¼ inch bit to put holes in the bottom of the containers every few inches. Clamshell containers of store bought produce often already have holes in them, so this makes them very convenient for sowing seeds. These also have a lid that can be closed to hold in moisture when weather is warm. Milk jug bottoms make good starting trays; Drill small drainage holes every few inches. Clamshell containers usually have drainage holes and a lid to hold in moisture.


The zucchini and pumpkins have grown perfectly in yogurt cups. When the roots completely fill out the cup, they will be transplanted directly into the garden.

Tomato and pepper seedlings all need to be transplanted into larger individual containers when they have several sets of true leaves. Yogurt cups are the perfect size for them. When the night temperatures are above 50°F (10°C) it will be time to move them outside to harden off, and then plant into the garden.

1 comment:

Marilyn said...

I leave the seed starting to my live-in gardener. Sometimes he succeeds and sometimes not. Oh well we can always go to the nursery.