Wednesday, March 23, 2011

6 steps to start growing indoors

With freezing drizzle and the other six forms of precipitation pounding us, it's a little hard to think about gardening. But this soon shall pass, so I am starting some plants indoors this weekend. 
Here's 6 steps to growing indoors:
1. For containers, use plastic cell containers with covers or egg cartons with holes poked in the bottom and saran wrap on top. You can also use wood pulp pots or peat pellets. Whatever you use, make sure it has drainage.
2. Fill with potting soil, preferably a mix with sphagnum peat moss, but any potting soil is good. Moisten the soil. 
3.Plant a few seeds, not many, about 1/8 inch deep and pat the soil lightly. Then cover with plastic and place in a very warm place, out of direct sunlight.
4. Keep watered. Once the seeds sprout, move the pots to a bright spot, a south-facing window is best. Water often, but not too much or too fast. The plants are fragile. If they get too big for their containers, move them to bigger pots. 
5. When it gets close to planting time, it's time to harden them by placing them outside during the day, to get used to it, but not in direct sunlight at first. Bring them in every night.
6. When its warm enough at night, transplant to the garden. Dig a hole slightly deeper than the pot and put the plant in, supporting it with your fingers. Firm the soil gently around the stem. Water carefully.

For tomatoes, it takes 6-8 weeks before they'll be ready to transplant outside. We always wait until Memorial Day to put tomatoes and peppers out, because the plants do much better when it's warmer at night, and I don't like covering plants in the garden every time there's a frost warning.
  

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