The months of March and April mark the beginning of spring. While waiting for the snow to melt and the smell of fresh grass, why not add a little greenery to your daily life? The best way to do this is certainly by preparing your own plants indoors.
This year, it is more difficult than ever to find seeds since they are out of stock in several places. Therefore, we are offering several tips and tricks to do your own seeding without buying (almost) anything and in an eco-friendly way. Two keynotes: recycle and reuse.
Why do your own seeding?
There are several reasons why seeding indoors is advantageous.
Firstly, you have a greater variety of seeds. For example, there are more than 200 kinds of tomato seeds in some outlets.
In addition, it is an ecological and economical way to grow your own vegetables. Indoor seeding will cost you much less than buying the same food at the grocery store (for about $3, you can find hundreds of seeds in a single bag) and you will also avoid over-packaging.
Finally, what is more satisfying and pleasant than seeing the fruit of your own efforts grow right in front of your eyes? You can put your green thumb to work and savour the fresh vegetables from your garden in a few months.
How do your start indoor seeding?
In an eco-friendly approach, recover the seeds and the pits of the fruits and vegetables you already have at home: tomatoes, peppers or groundcherries for example. These will make excellent seeds to begin your indoor seeding. You can also reuse the stems of your green onions, which will grow back up to five times after the first plantation.
There are also several groups on social media networks where you can find seeds to donate or exchange. This is a great way to get a wide variety of seeds and give the ones you have left over to someone else.
Finally, if you need to buy seeds, don't hesitate to look for local seed companies to order yours!
To begin planting your seeds, you need some material. You will need a container large enough for the roots to spread. Without realizing it, many containers that we already have at home do the job perfectly: cooked chicken packaging at the grocery store (black bottom with the plastic dome), 650 g yogurt and large margarine containers, egg cartons or even any plastic dish you have in your cupboards.
When your plants will begin to grow, you will also need some supports for them. You can then search your pantry or storage area for wooden sticks (such as popsicle sticks), sushi sticks, skewers or pipe cleaners. When your small plants are ready to be transplanted outdoors, you can then use wooden branches for support.
To begin planting your seeds, you obviously need some earth, more commonly called soil. If you don’t already have any, this is probably the only item you will need to buy, because the potting soil used for plants has a particular composition. Think about how much you will need to avoid multiple trips and buy a large bag rather than several small ones. Even better, there are places that sell soil in bulk!
Otherwise, you can always ask around to find some or even on different gardening groups online. Potting soil can be kept for a very long time and you will be able to use what is left for next year.
Finally, if you plant a wide variety of different seeds, it is essential to have labels to identify them. Again, use what you can find around home, such as a margarine container lids that you can cut into tabs, old broken blinds, cork stoppers, etc.
Do your indoor seeding step by step
Now that you have all the material that you need, you're ready to start seeding. We suggest that you follow a procedure, but keep in mind that gardening remains very intuitive and that you shouldn’t hesitate to add your own personal touch.
- Be sure to plant your seedlings at the right time according to an annual calendar and the hardiness of your region.
- Make holes in the bottom of your containers to facilitate water drainage.
- Fill your pots with pre-moistened potting soil and leave about 1 cm between the soil and the rim of the container to allow space for watering.
- Sow your seeds by relying on either the packaging or a seed website, these sources will give you information on the best conditions for your types of seeds: temperature, brightness and ideal depth.
- Water (do not soak, only keep the potting soil moist).
- If you wish, place a clear plastic dome* on your container to conserve moisture and facilitate germination.
*You can use the lid of a cooked BBQ chicken container or a strawberries container.
And that's it! Your seedlings are ready. Now they need to be maintained. Here are some tips from the Tero team:
- Remove the dome as soon as the sprouts are out of the soil;
- Place your pots on the edge of a window, preferably facing full-south;
- Water the soil to moisten it when it is dry;
- Transplant your seedlings into a larger container when about four full leaves have grown. This way, the roots (be careful, they are fragile) can grow more and your seedlings will become stronger.
What you should remember is that these tips can be very practical for indoor seeding, but you should also rely on your own experience. There is no magic recipe for gardening, and it is an activity with lots of trial and error. That said, there are easy and eco-friendly ways to grow your own vegetables and we hope that our tips have inspired you.
Feel free to share with us in the comments what your must-have tips are when preparing your seedlings.
By: Claudia Larose