Last summer, I started seed indoors with a homemade “greenhouse” and one of the plants, my Swiss Chard is still producing huge leaves. Although I like the instant gratification and readiness of purchasing plants at a nursery, I find it so rewarding to start seed indoors.
I start my seeds in a plastic strawberry or tomato container that has been washed with soap and hot water. The container holds in moisture and creates a mini greenhouse. Within a few days you will often see a stem and leaves emerge from the soil.
Just last week I sowed tomato plants at my kitchen window seal.
My favorite moment is when the stem pulls the seed leaves upward into the light. This is truly a moment when you witness the force of nature.
I encountered one slight problem as my seedlings started to mature: pests! My potting soil from last fall stayed moist most of the winter. The wet and warm soil must have been a great environment for bugs. Now, I am not one to study all the possible diseases and enemies of plants, but I had to rescue my tomatoes from their peril.
A few seedlings did not survive, however and others entered their new home a little maimed.
I purchased “Jiffy Strips” which can be planted directly into the garden, but the attendant told me that egg cartons work great as well. You should soak the strips or egg carton in water before potting.
Hopefully my transplants will be happy and pest free.