Here are five essential items that you need to successfully start and grown your own seeds indoors.
Quality Seed starting mix
Over the many years of trying different potting soils and starting mixes, I have come to the conclusion that it is worth every penny to purchase a quality seed starting mix. There are lots of different choices available. I personally use the Miracle Gro brand just because that is what is at my local hardware store and year after year, it works so well. Standard potting soil mixes tend to be very heavy and the seeds have a hard time successfully germinating in it. Some brands just will not stay moist no matter how much you water them.
Seeds from a reputable company
I personally use Gurney’s for all of my seeds. My parents started using them years ago and I have continued to purchase all of my seeds from them for the past 10+ years. I have tried seeds from local stores like Agway but my success has been extremely poor. In fact, last year, my parents picked up a pack of cucumber seeds and when the seeds came up, it turned out that the plants were pumpkins and not cucumbers. With the Gurney’s brand, out of a flat of 60+ seeds started, only 2 or 3 do not germinate. That is a pretty good germination rate in my book!
I know what you are thinking and YES! a spray bottle is essential. Here is why: when you first plant your seeds and cover them with seed starting mix, you need to water them. The problem is that if you use a watering can or anything with a stream of water, the seed starting mix will float around and a lot of times the seeds will come uncovered. A spray bottle works great because it just moistens the soil and allows the water to soak in. Just keep spraying all of the soil until it is well moistened.
If you are using one of those fancy plastic greenhouse starting kits, you won’t need plastic wrap. But for the everyday Joe who is trying to start seeds on the cheap, plastic wrap is your friend! After you have watered your soil, cover it with plastic wrap and set the seeds in a bright and warm location. The plastic wrap will help retain the moisture in the soil so you will not have to water everyday. This is a HUGE time saver! You will want to lift up the plastic wrap once a day to just check the soil to make sure that it is damp. Spray with water when necessary.
Easy no-cost plant tag labels
Are you afraid you will forget what you planted where? Trust me! I have made that mistake one too many times and mixed up all of my hot peppers, banana peppers and bell peppers. Now I make my own plant tag labels by using a milk-jug and a permanent marker. These hold up great and you just recycle them when you are done with them.