There are a million and a half ways that people start their seeds. And this way is mine.
1-Go buy a big bag of Pro-mix. I used to sell this stuff when I managed a garden center and it’s awesome. Yes, it costs about $36 for 3.6cuft, but there is sooo much of it! It’s a big black or white bag, all packed tightly into plastic. Pro-mix is a mixture of vermiculite, peat moss and perlite. Which means it’s very light soil. Rip the sucker open and dump half of it into a large plastic container with a lid. I usually use Rubbermaid because they have tight lids. It’s very dusty, so don’t go crazy.
Why can’t I use regular top soil or black earth? Why can’t I use the generic stuff or miracle-gro?
The difference between top soil and black earth is based on their layers. In a ‘forest’ setting, when you start digging a hole, the first layer is humus. That’s the soft, airy, barky stuff on top, that is composed of plant material, and decomposed organisms. The next layer is the top soil, which has nutrients and usually higher in nitrogen (think grass). The layer below that is black earth, which is supposed to have phosphorus, phosphoric acid and ammonia – which is awesome for agricultural use, and planting shrubs. As for the generic stuff…I like my Pro-mix. The end.
2- Grab a bowl. Then start adding warm water and mix with your hands. It takes a lot of water to get it very wet. But this is good. The mixture will absorb the water and help keep your seedlings wet for a longer time.
3- Add Myke’s. I was introduced to this stuff last year by Heather from Carleton Place Nursery. I was skeptical at first, but after reading that it was filled with mycorrhizae, I figured I’d try it. I bought the small container first for about $11, and my word, what a difference! The root system growth was incredibly substantial! Go buy it. It’s worth it. And it’s ORGANIC!
4- Fill containers! I’m using some old soy milk containers, and I’m uncapping the spout so that the water can leak out. Stuff your containers with the warm, wet soil. You can use old milk containers (cleaned and soaped out, of course), old salad containers after you poke a few holes in them, berry containers, and even these grids below.Although to be honest, I made hubby take them back because they are so flimsy and not worth my time. I purchased some garden center ready ones that are much more sturdy. Yes, you can use Jiffy-7‘s, but when you’re planting as much as I am, the easier, the better. And if the root system doesn’t break through the mesh when you go to plant outside, you have to tear them a bit. I like my roots to breathe! NOTE: use bleach to clean your containers!!!
5- Plant your seeds according to package directions. I usually use a pencil to make the holes, drop them in, and cover them again. It is very important to cover your seed trays/containers with a plastic lid or store inside a small indoor greenhouse contraption because your seeds need the humidity and the warmth. And you won’t have to water as often.
6- These are my plants about three weeks later. Tadah!!! Easy-peasy-lemon-squeasy…