All seeds aboard

Photo credit: WVC

Plastic tray, plastic bag and a marker to build a mini-greenhouse

Starting your own transplants

By MINNIE MILLER, T&D Garden Columnist

How much money do you spend every spring buying vegetable and flower transplants to fill your garden or make up containers? Make this the year you save a little cash by growing your own starter plants. You will be able to pick and choose the exact varieties you want by selecting your seed. The sense of accomplishment you will gain by growing your own, start to finish, will be priceless.

Now is the time to start gathering the supplies you will need including containers, seed starting mix, liquid fertilizer, labels and seeds. Seeds ordered online take time to be shipped as do related supplies. If you are going to need to set up grow lights you will want to come up with a plan and implement it as a first step to successful transplants.

Be sure you can supply the right conditions for starting seed or you will not be successful. Seeds do not necessarily need light to germinate, but most do need warmth. Once they have sprouted, you will need to supply them with 16 to 18 hours of light daily to grow strong seedlings. Grow lights or regular florescent lighting can be used.

You don’t have to purchase special containers to start seed, but there are some handy ones out there that include trays and “domes” that help keep moisture regulated. Ordinary flats that have drainage holes, used pots and even recycled plastic produce containers (such as greens or berries are packaged in) can be used. The container simply needs to hold soil and provide drainage. You will want saucers or solid trays underneath to catch excess water.

Have on hand a supply of liquid or soluble fertilizer for watering the seedlings as they grow. Regular light doses of liquid fertilizer, along with adequate light, will keep plants strong and stout so they will be more successful transplants.

Read the full article: The T and D

Published by

Willem Van Cotthem

Honorary Professor of Botany, University of Ghent (Belgium). Scientific Consultant for Desertification and Sustainable Development.