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In order to start your garden indoors from seed you will need: premade soil mixture or one you have made with an equal mix of sand, and peat moss, sphagnum, vermiculite or perlite. Containers, either store bought or recycled like egg cartons, water, plastic bags, a fork, a pencil and a room temperature out of direct sunlight at 70° and 80°. Once you have these things, select your favorite seeds in packets and you’re ready to begin.

1.Moisten the mix slightly and fill your container to within ½ inch of the top. Lightly pack down. Use a fork to make several small depressions in the surface soil.

2.Sparingly drop seeds into the depressions using a point of a pencil to guide seeds out of the packet.

3.Lightly cover seeds with additional dry mix and press lightly so seeds contact the already moistened mix.

4.Place the entire container is a clear plastic bag and store out of direct sunlight, where temperature is between 70° and 80°. Tie the bag loosely to prevent evaporation. This “greenhouse effect” is perfect for seed germination.

5.When seedlings sprout (varies on type of seed) they will need sunlight. Uncover and set them on a table near a window. If you set them on the sill, be sure to insulate against the cold. If the soil is dry just below the surface with a finger poke, it’s time to water – sparingly, being sure not to overwater new growth.

6.In a week or two, the first set of real leaves will be visible and seedlings will need transplanting. Use a spoon or the edge of a blunt knife to break apart root clusters. Gently lift the plant by the leaves while supporting it underneath with the spoon or knife. Place the transplant in your new container and fill container to within ½ inch of the top with new soil mixture. Lightly pack down. Water with a half-strength solution of your favorite fertilizer. Keep transplants out of direct sun for two days, then place in full sun again. Alternate water and then fertilizer each time a fngerpoke turns up dry soil.

7.In two weeks the plants will be ready for hardening off. To gradually get them use to the outside world place them on a south porch or area where they get full sun but are sheltered from wind. For three days bring the plants back indoors around sunset. After this time leave them outdoor irregardless of weather.

8.After two weeks of hardening off, remove the plant with it’s rootball and soil intact. Plant them deeply in your chosen outdoor area. Water with liquid fertilizer immediately after this final transplant, and again every third day until the plants are established.

Growing your plants indoor from seeds will not only save you money, it will also give you the benefits of starting your garden long before mother nature would allow.