Monday, March 3, 2014

Preparing for Spring. Planting Seeds Indoors.

Who's ready for spring? With all the snow and cold we've had this winter, I really shouldn't have a need to ask! This past weekend, we got 4 more inches of snow, and now the chill factor came back to greet us with subzero temps again. #Chiberia is a fun place to live!

I usually plan to start my seeds indoors about 2 months before Mother's Day. Around the Chicago area, Mother's Day is usually a good day to plant outside. Of course, give or take a week or so, depending on this crazy weather we have. This past weekend was the time to start my seeds indoors. Time to get my hands dirty!

My setup is extremely simple. I have a small shelving unit with three shelves. This year, I'm only using 2 shelves. A couple of years ago, my husband and I bought 2 growing trays with the covers and little heating pads that goes with them. So we will use those. The bottom tray is so very light plastic, that I've noticed it has started to crack and break. Something to worry about next year.

Usually I start my plants in small clear plastic cups (with holes drilled into the bottom of the cup). Then I transplant to a bigger cup with more dirt when the seedlings are big enough. This year, I sent my husband on a mission to get 16oz clear plastic cups. I will add dirt as the seedlings grow in the same cup. Well, the husband came home with clear green cups. He said that was all he could find in the size that I wanted. The stores probably just had the green cups out to try to sell for St Patrick's Day. Ah well, we go with the flow!

The husband was kind enough to drill the holes in the bottom of the cups. I labeled each cup with a black Sharpie pen, as to what seed was going to grow there. I mistakenly didn't label last year. What I got was a habanero growing in amongst my cubanelle peppers. So this year, I labeled!

Filled each cup halfway with gardening soil. Then it was time to plant the seeds. In went 13 giant jalapenos, 4 cubanelle, 3 brussels sprouts,  2 poblano peppers, 1 cayenne and 1 habanero. Added some water to each cup. Placed the lid on the plants and made sure the little heating pads were plugged in.

I don't have grow lights. Maybe one day I will, but it is not this day! My plants face the north. Not optimum for the best sun. But it is the best and biggest area available to grow my seedlings. They do tend to grow "leggy".  When it's time, I just place them deeper into the ground, maybe stake them up for awhile, and they take off like crazy. Never had too much of a problem with "leggy" plants. Leggy meaning spindly stalks.

Now comes the best part. Waiting to see my seedlings pop up through the soil. Let's do some growing!

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