This is part one of the Urban Gardener Series.
Spring is here and it’s time to start thinking ahead to gardening season. Starting seeds indoors is an easy and fun project that even a novice gardener will have no problem tackling. First you have to set up an indoor greenhouse, which sounds more intimidating than it is. Basically you need some good seed starting soil, seeds, a light source (this could be a lighting system or just a window), water and some sort of enclosure to keep the moisture in. In the past I’ve just used a narrow tray on a windowsill with a plastic cover, but if you don’t have access to an abundance of natural light you can buy a mini greenhouse with lights at your local hardware store.
seed starting trays by andrewsreclaimed on Etsy
I really like ordering seeds from Urban Garden. They have a great selection of heirloom veggies, herbs and flowers and all their seeds are certified organic. The number of plants you’ll want to start depends on the amount of outdoor space you have for planting. I only have a small deck garden, so I usually stick with planting a variety of herbs, a salad mix, cherry tomatoes and maybe a summer squash or peppers.
How cool are these seed bombs from Etsy seller visualingual. Designed with Guerilla gardening in mind each bag comes with five gumball-sized balls of seeds. Just throw and grow!
Know Your Zone
When to start your seeds will depend on which part of the world you live in. Here’s a North American Zone Map but most gardening books and websites can give you a more detailed zone guide for your area.
Make Your Own Earth-Friendly Seedling Pots
Commercial seed starting pots are typically made from plastic or peat but you can easily make your own using toilet paper tubes or old newspaper.
Toilet Paper Tube Method
Take a cardboard toilet paper tube and make a series of cuts at one end about an inch deep and half an inch apart. Fold the cut ends towards the centre of the tube creating a bottom for your pot. Fill with soil and plant your seeds according to package directions and place them in a tray. It’s as easy as that! If you are having trouble getting them to stand up you can tie them together in bunches with twine.
Take five or six sheets of newspaper and lay them flat on an even work surface. Cut the newspaper horizontally into six inch wide strips. Take a strip of stacked paper and wrap it around a wine bottle or a glass. Use a piece of tape to keep your tube shape in place and remove it from the bottle or glass. Carefully fold the first couple inches of one end in towards the centre making a bottom. Voila! You have a plant pot ready to house your first seedlings.
Is it Worth All the Trouble?
You might be wondering if it’s worth the work and I would say definitely. Seeing your first little sprout poke it’s head out of the ground is amazing, and when it comes time to harvest you will enjoy your bounty much more knowing that you had a direct hand in the whole process. You Grow Girl is a wonderful resource for the novice or more experienced gardener, and you can also find helpful instructions for seed starting there as well as a handy dandy seed starting chart. Life on the Balcony has a ton of great resources too.
No Garden, No Problem
If you don’t have a yard or balcony that doesn’t mean you can’t get your garden on. The AeroGarden lets you grow vegetables and herbs right on your countertop. It looks sleek and futuristic too.