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February 23, 2023 3 min read
Starting to grow your house plants doesn’t need to be stressful, not if you have the right tools. To start you should gather the correct supplies that you need.
Seeds of your choice.
Seed starting pots or cell trays.
Seed starting mix (homemade or store-bought).
Seed tray with humidity dome (propagation tray, or use any DIY drainage tray with plastic wrap).
Spray bottle or squirt bottle filled with water.
You’ll want to dump your seed starting mix into a large tub or bucket, pour in a generous amount of water, and stir it up with your hands or a trowel. Note that this will take several minutes, as peat-based seed starting mixes are slow to absorb, and you can add more water as needed. Aim for the mix to be uniformly damp, like wet sand. Then begin to fill your pots or trays with the mix!
Place two to four seeds on the surface of the seed starting mix, and gently press the seeds down so they’re nestled in nicely.
If your seeds are very small, like basil or mustard, you can leave them uncovered.3
If your seeds are larger (like beans or peas) or they require darkness to germinate (check the instructions on the seed packets), cover them with a layer of vermiculite or seed starting mix equal to their height, usually 1/4 inch to 1/2 inch
Now is the time to start labeling what was planted where new seeds all look quite similar, so you will want to keep track of them.
Mist your seeds with water from a spray bottle.
Assemble your pots in a seed tray (or reuse a disposable aluminum roasting pan, a baking pan, or even that plastic clamshell that your salad greens came in) and cover them with a humidity dome (or just plain old plastic wrap). If your dome has vents, keep them open to help with air circulation during the sprouting period. If you need to warm them up, your seed trays can be placed wherever it’s warmest in your house, such as an attic, bathroom, laundry room, or kitchen. This is because sunlight is not essential at this point. If your seedling pots stay covered in a warm nook, the low humidity will keep your seeds happy until they sprout. High humidity will make them sad. Only spritz the seeds with more water if the mix feels dry to the touch
Once your seeds have started to sprout they will need light! Remove the humidity dome or plastic wrap, and move the seedlings to the sunniest spot in your house (preferably a south-facing window). Continue to keep the mix moist, but not overly wet. Seedlings should be watered once a day or every other day, depending on how much sun and heat they get.
After your seedlings develop their first “true set” of leaves, they are ready to be transplanted. If more than one seed sprouted, choose the strongest one and pinch or snip off the others. Transplant the seedling into a larger container filled with potting mix. Hold it by the cotyledons (the first leaves that appear) and try not to manhandle the tiny roots.
For more tips and tricks check out these articles!The Giant Guide to Soilless Potting Options &3 Plants To Grow From Kitchen Scraps
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