INDOOR GROWING EQUIPMENT YOU NEED FOR STARTING SEEDS
There are so many great reasons to start your garden seeds indoors before the last frost! To name just a few, you’ll have complete control over the growing environment, you can pick specific varieties you want to try that may not be available otherwise, you’ll save some money, and you can get a jump start on the growing season here in Indiana . Seed starting is a fun and easy project for anyone hoping to try something new and learn more about gardening. There’s no better way to learn than to grow your plants from the ground up!
There are a few seeds starting supplies you’ll need to get your garden off to a great start this spring.
ESSENTIAL SEED STARTING EQUIPMENT
To get the right equipment for starting your seeds indoors , start by paying us a visit at Dammann’s Garden Company! You can get the individual items you’ll need, allowing you to choose what type you like the best, or we can help you choose a seed starting kit. Kits can be especially helpful if you’re brand new to seed starting and only want to start one tray of seeds. They usually include a tray with a dome lid, a grow light with a stand, and enough starter soil mix for you to start growing. Seed starter kits are available in a variety of sizes and price ranges.
If you want to choose all the items yourself or supplement with a DIY solution, like building your own grow light stand, you may get more bang for your buck by buying each piece individually. Here are the essential items you need, and why they’re important.
SEEDLING TRAYS WITH DOMES
The best environment for seed germination is a weed-free, moist area with an even temperature and no drafts. Seedling trays make this easy to control. The trays themselves perfectly fit several seed starting flats. It’s a good idea to have a selection of both single-cell and multi-cell flats. The singles are great for just starting your tiny seeds in, and the multi-cells are perfect for when your plants get a little bit bigger, and you need to transplant each of them into their own cells.
SEED STARTING MIX
Seed starting mix, or seed starting soil, is different from standard potting soil. It has been sterilized to prevent disease, contains lower levels of nutrients to encourage roots to stretch for more, and it has a much finer texture than other soils. This mix is ideal for starting healthy seedlings that will be strong enough to survive when you plant them outside.
Peat pellets are another option or alternative to flats. Pellets usually come as a tiny little disk of dehydrated growing medium, contained in a mesh pouch. Just add warm water, and they quickly rehydrate to their full size, usually about 1″ wide, and 1.5-2″ tall.
Peat pellets are great for things like cucumbers, pumpkins, and squashes, which have large seeds, and sometimes don’t react well to being transplanted multiple times. They also pack well into seedling trays.
The one thing to remember with peat pellets is to cut several slits in the mesh when you do go to plant your seedlings in the ground. In theory, the mesh should break down and allow the roots to get out, but sometimes this doesn’t happen fast enough. Slicing through the mesh 4-5 times gives your plant easy access to stretch its roots into the garden soil.
All plants need light to grow strong and healthy. When you start seeds indoors in the spring , the days are not very long. Even right next to a window, those tiny plants won’t get as much light as they should. If they only get window light, they’ll get tall, spindly, and weak. Once little seedlings sprout, they need 12-14 hours of strong light every day, so you do need the help of proper grow lights to start seeds indoors. Your grow lights should be placed just a few inches above the trays, or just above the top of your dome cover.
SEEDLING HEAT MATS
Some seeds need a hit of cold winter weather to start their germination process, and some need soil that starts out cool and warms up slowly in the spring. However, the types of seeds we usually start indoors, things like tomatoes, peppers, and melons, do best with warm soil right from the start. Seedling heat mats are so helpful for this. They are designed to fit underneath a standard seed tray. They bump up the soil temperature to about 10º warmer than ambient temperature, the ideal temperature for germination, and hold it there.
The heat mats can also improve and speed up germination. It’s important to remove the mats or turn them off once your seedlings have come up. Too much heat will cause them to grow too quickly, and they could end up getting too big for your tray before it’s warm enough to plant them outside.
Now that we’ve covered the seed starting basics, here are a few other things that can be helpful. You may have some of these around the house already:
A spray bottle with a fine mist setting is helpful for lightly watering your cells before seeds have sprouted. The fine mist keeps seeds from washing away and maintains humidity inside the seed trays.
A timer for your grow lights makes it super easy to make sure your plants are getting enough light every day. You may have one of these from your Christmas lights, or you can pick one up at our garden center. After a few minutes of setup, your grow lights will turn on and off on their own at precisely the right time.
A small desk fan is helpful to set up near your seedlings once they’re tall enough to take the dome covers off. Air circulation will help to prevent “damping off,” which can be fatal to seedlings. A small fan placed a few feet away from your seedlings will help to keep the top of the soil dry.
If you’re wondering where to buy seed starting supplies in Indianapolis , stop by our garden center for a visit. We carry all the supplies you need, including a wide variety of seeds to choose from. Get going on your seed starting adventure this month!
Starting seeds indoors gives you complete control, and gets you a jump start on the growing season. Here’s the equipment you’ll need to get started.