We are a bit late starting seeds this year. We have been dealing with back to back sickness for months and a lot of our projects have been pushed aside. Last week I started some watermelons, sunflowers, pumpkins and ground cherries. Next week I am going to add broccoli, lettuce varieties and maybe peas but I think it might still be too early for that. We have not had luck starting tomatoes on our own so we buy the starts at Costco and sometimes local plant sales hosted by garden clubs. We have had super healthy tomato plants from Costco both years we bought them there and last year we grew way more tomatoes than we could eat.
I thought I would post a few photos of my setup. We luckily have a laundry room with a shelf where we are able to place seed trays and a light. We bought the Fluorescent 4-Tube Fixture from Amazon. It is 4 feet long so it covers a lot of space for seeds and we used hangers similar to the Elfin Growth 1/8″ Adjustable-Height Grow Light Fixture Ratchet Hangers to hang it from the ceiling. It is super convenient to adjust the height of the light all the way up when we aren’t using it. I get my laundry shelf back in the off season!
As you can see we use the red cup method for starting our seeds. We bought a gigantic pack from Costco and cut 3 small holes in the bottom of the cups with kitchen shears, fill them with good soil, add a layer of seed starter to the top and plant our seeds. This allows us to water the seeds from below and prevent any molds or fungi from growing on too damp plants. I have thought about using toilet paper rolls to start my seeds, and I may try it later this year with my beans and peas. My kids constantly play with the used cups after I plant the seeds. They love to fill them with dirt or water and dump it out.
The brown and green containers are ones that have been floating around in our garage for many, many years. I found them while cleaning and instead of throwing them out (they are seriously older than my teenager) I decided to repurpose them for seed starting and they are the perfect height. You can also use long shallow containers such as these Sterilite 32 Quart/30 Liter ClearView Latch Box but any container that holds water and isn’t taller than your cups will work. You might even be able to find something at a thrift store. I was in a hurry when I planted these so my handwriting is pretty illegible on the sticks but I can read them and that is all that counts right?
So far my sunflower and pumpkin seeds have sprouted. The sunflower seeds are growing fast and will soon be too tall for the light so I may have to move them a bit. Last year I started them outside but they were immediately eaten after sprouting so I thought I would try inside this year. We are still new to this whole growing things in our yard. Last year we discovered we have a huge slug problem and some sort of animal that is eating our seedlings. We are going to try hardware cloth this year and see if that helps.
I am excited to grow more of our food this year! I will keep updating our garden progress as projects get completed.