Auntie Gwen commented that I should keep my blog updated with my planting progress.
I thought I would go ahead and start at the beginning, for those who have never tried this before.
If you have experience with indoor seeding, please feel free to comment, because this is my first year also.
To start off, there isn't a "correct" method of indoor seeding. Some people buy dirt and amend it themselves, use recycled containers like egg cartons or bottles, while others go the easy way...like I did.
The simplest and cleanest way is to buy Peat Pellets like this.
Prior to planting, you expand the pellets by soaking in water.
Again you can place these pellets in any container that you choose, but for about $7 you can buy a tray already outfitted with 72 pellets. I bought mine at Lowes, it's a Ferry Morse. You can buy Burpee or Jiffy brands...it's all the same thing. There may even be other brands to choose from.
Normally you start seeds 6-8 weeks before the last frost date, which is generally May 10th for our area. According to the Washington Co. Agricultural Office, this year's frost-free date is later than May 10th.
(I started very late this year because I knew I would be out of town off and on during April.)
There are many seeds that don't require indoor seeding, particularly annuals, but it will give them an extra boost if you do start them indoors. They will be safe from birds and fluctuating temps while they are germinating.
(I direct-sowed sunflowers last year and saw nary a one of them......do it inside!)
To begin, look at your packets of seeds the night before to see if any of them require pre-soaking to start germination.
If you have alot of seeds like I did then organize your seeds by length of germination. Some seeds take 5-10 days to germinate while others take 21-28 days. When you plant them in the trays, you cover them with the plastic dome- but once the seedling appears, you have to take the dome off...so you don't want to take the dome off and have half you plants still trying to germinate.
Say you have one group of seeds that takes 7-10 days and another group that takes 10-14 days...plant them at opposite sides of the tray, that way if one germinates sooner than the other, you can keep one side covered if you need to.
(Did that make sense?)
To start, fill your tray with water...the pellets will soak up the water so quick that you won't really know how much you put in it, just keep pouring until the peat is almost black in color. If it's still a light brown, and your pellets aren't expanding, then you need much more water.
The pellets should grow to about 1 1/2 inches tall....if water is standing in the trey, then pour it out.
Using a fork, gently pull away the fabric closing the top of the pellets.
(5) Put 2-3 seeds in the center of each pellet. (Look on your seed packs to see if you should press any of them down into the peat.....sunflowers, for instance, require being pushed down almost to the bottom.)
For tiny seeds, like Oregano, it's impossible to count out the seeds, I just sprinkle a little on and gently try to cover with a little peat.
Once all of your pellets have been seeded, gently cover with peat and replace dome.
I attached notes to the trays so that I could see which plants were which.
Get a notebook to log your planting, so that you can keep track of how many days it's been.
Keep the trays in a warm place out of direct sunlight until seedlings emerge. (Not in the dark- just not where sunshine is directly on them.)
Further instructions are on the box.
Once my seedlings have emerged, I'll talk about hardening off and planting.
There's more.... ; )