Knowing how to start an indoor vegetable garden is essential for every city gardener.
The major difference between outdoor and indoor garden is the amount of sunlight it receives. Starting seeds indoors and transplanting them to container garden will help the plants to grow effectively and yield high. This article explains how to start seeds in indoor environment and tips to start a vegetable garden at home.
Growing Medium for Seedlings
Seedlings are highly fine in nature. To increase the chances of success, start growing them in sterile fresh seedling-starting mix. Make sure the mix is fluffy and light enough and can hold adequate moisture. If your moisture is too heavy, roots cannot push through heavy medium and disease can infect the seedlings in too wet or non-sterile medium.
Choosing the Container
Your containers should be sterile and can be able to hold the growing medium. Use the containers that are three to four inches across, because you will be transferring the seedlings to the containers later.
Make sure your containers are sterile and have drainage holes to drain the excess water. Place your container over a waterproof tray that will keep the excess water. You can opt for seed-starting kits which have containers, trays and lids.
Find the area which receives maximum sunlight, because seedlings require lot of light. If you cannot get enough sunlight, you can buy affordable T-12 or T-8 fluorescent lights. Keep the light three to four inches above them as they grow so that they will receive adequate light. Make sure that you don’t use incandescent light bulbs as they will produce lot of heat which may destroy the plants. Use a lamp timer to turn off your lights after 16-18 hours every day.
Seed-starting occurs in two stages namely germination and growing. The first step germination involves the sprouting where the embryo of the crop comes out of the seed. In this stage plants need heat not light. So place your containers in a slightly warmer area like over a refrigerator or a dryer.
Once the seeds germinate and grown up to one inches tall, you should place them in normal temperature at around 60 to 70 degrees.
Plants need enough water to grow, so sow the seeds in wet mix. Cover the containers with a plastic bag or lids to maintain the humidity. Once the seeds germinate and once sprouting happens remove the covers.
Make sure that excess water drains out and air circulates around the plants to preserve humidity. Avoid watering from the top which will lead to damping off – a fungal infection.
How Often Should I Check My Seeds?
Checking your plants daily will be the best way to start a successful garden. Look at the seedlings for germination and sprouting. Provide the light source and cover them to keep moisture. Once they sprout and grow up, you have to uncover them and later you have to make sure they have enough water.
Your seed packets will give you the instructions about the number of days they need for seed-starting. Once you reached those day limits, you can transfer the plants into your outdoor garden or into containers in your indoor area which receives sunlight.
Featured image from @jt_design