Preparing seedlings for your garden

greenhouse

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Buying seeds rather than plants in individual pots is an economical solution. What’s more, it allows us to choose the variety we want. Preparing seedlings indoors is also easy, requires little space and costs little, especially if recycled materials are used.


Obtain the required materials: new or used small pots, or a tray with cells

The important thing is to wash the used containers well with soapy water and rinse them. As used containers, you can also use yogurt containers, margarine containers, tin cans and many others, as long as you make a drainage hole in the bottom. However, these containers must be large enough to hold your seedlings. Egg cartons are not suitable! If possible, avoid buying seedlings in polystyrene containers, as these are not recyclable. As trays under the pots, I use aluminum plates, Styrofoam trays and even used cookie sheets that I would have recycled.

Buy or make a small greenhouse

For my part, I bought a small greenhouse in the store with LED grow lights. You can have a 4-level mini greenhouse for around $50, and the lamp starts at $50. You can also make mini greenhouses by reusing food containers with plastic lids, or you can simply put your pots on a windowsill. Finally, using a timer is very useful for controlling the lighting duration. It can be set between 12 and 16 hours a day.

Buying potting soil for seedlings

Seedling potting soil is composed of peat moss and vermiculite. It contains all the elements needed for seedling growth. Black soil is not suitable, as it is too heavy and therefore not sufficiently aerated.

Buying seeds

As the shelf life of seeds varies from one species to another, you shouldn’t buy seeds for years. For example, beet seeds can be stored for 3 years. You can consult Seed Germination Duration Periods to find out more.

Choosing the right sowing date

For me, I sow in April. At first, I did them in March, but the plants got too big to transplant in June. In Quebec, you can’t put the plants outside before the last frost. This period varies greatly depending on where people live. It runs from late April to early June.

Here are my seedlings for the year 2024 (Quebec region):

Done on March 23:

  • rosemary
  • celery

Done on April 6:

  • Brussels sprouts
  • cayenne pepper
  • broccoli
  • cherry tomatoes
  • beefsteak tomatoes

Done on May 11th:

  • quash
  • zucchini
  • pumpkin

Making the seedlings

To prepare the soil, I add enough water to moisten it, then fill the pots. To check whether the soil is sufficiently moist, simply take a little soil in your hand and squeeze. If the water runs out, the soil is too moist. Ideally, add water gradually and test. Then, lightly pack the soil with your hand and place 2 seeds per pot. After a few weeks, keep one seedling per pot.

Acclimatize your plants

To avoid putting them under too much stress, it’s best to take them outside for a few hours a day, 2 weeks before planting.

Happy sowing!

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