1 Seeds are available online, at garden centers, and through friends and family. Many of my seeds are from Johnny's Selected Seeds - a privately held, employee-owned organic seed producer in Winslow, Maine. http://www.johnnyseeds.com
2 Johnny's offers hundreds of varieties of organic vegetable, herb, flower, fruit and farm seeds. Many of my seeds have come from Johnny's over the years. This year, I got lots of flower seeds from Johnny's.
3 I also got a good selection of vegetable seeds from Johnny's, including these pepper seeds.
4 I'm so excited to see how all of these do in my garden this year.
5 On each marker, Ryan writes the seed variety, so he's ready to place it in the trays after planting the seeds. It's also helpful to put the date of planting on the back.
6 Seed starting trays are available in all sizes and formations. Select the right kind of tray based on the size of the seeds.
7 It's best to use a pre-made seed starting mix that contains the proper amounts of vermiculite, perlite and peat moss. Seed starting mixes are available at garden supply stores.
8 This seed starting board is helpful for making rows right into a seed tray of mix - it can be made or bought online. It has little moulding strips on a piece of plywood. If you decide to make one yourself, be sure it is the same size of the interior of your planting tray.
9 Just press the board down into the tray.
10 The furrows are very defined, and indicate exactly where the seeds should be dropped.
11 Ryan marked the row and chose the seeds.
12 Some seeds are very small - be very careful when pouring them out of the packet.
13 Just drop seeds along each furrow.
14 Seeds are usually started about two months before the last frost in the area. If you're not sure, check online or ask garden center associates when the last frost usually occurs in your location.
15 Cover the seeds by leveling the soil and filling the furrows back in with medium.
16 Some trays have long, shallow compartments for planting seeds because they can be placed closely together.
17 Using a plant marker, create a half-inch deep furrow in the middle of each compartment. If you don't have a plant marker, use a thin ruler.
18 After dropping the seeds into the tray cells, again cover them back up with soil. The rule of thumb is to use the amount equal to the diameter of a seed. Once they germinate and grow too big for the trays, transfer into larger pots and then finally into the garden.
19 I am very fortunate to have a lot of space to plant many different seeds indoors during winter. All these trays will be kept in my temperature controlled greenhouse. Seedlings also require a considerable amount of light, so make sure they are kept in a sunny, south-facing window.
20 Using a hand seed sower, such as this one from Johnny's Seeds, is another way to drop seed into the trays. Just pour a generous amount of seeds into the center dish.
21 Screw the plastic top onto the hand seed sower and adjust how many seeds you want released at one time.
22 In each furrow, drop your seeds evenly about a quarter-inch apart.
23 It's always a good idea to keep a record of when seeds are sown, when they germinate, and when they are transplanted. These observations will help organize a schedule for the following year.
24 Some trays are designed with individual cells for each seedling.
25 Mark the trays, and using your finger or a closed thick marker pen, make a hole in each cell, and drop seeds into each one.
26 Using seed starter pellets is also an option for starting garden seedlings indoors early. They are biodegradable and root permeable. Just add water, sow and transplant the seedlings directly.
27 They are available at most seed companies, online and at garden centers. Some are sold individually, or in bulk.
28 Just soak the disc in water.
29 Place it in a tray with individual cells, and watch it expand to fill the cell.
30 Break up the disc as it expands, so it fills each cell completely.
31 We also started our broccoli indoors.
32 For these, we started them in seed starting pots designed to breakdown on their own. These containers are easy to use - just fill with starting medium, and they can be planted directly into the ground at the time of transplant.
33 When planting them, it's easy to do in an assembly line fashion.
34 Poke a hole into each pot.
35 And, drop in the seeds. Always give the seeds a little drink of water after planting them.
36 Cover the hole back up with soil mix.
37 These are heating mats - they're available online. They provide just the right temperature for the soil and for proper germination, which is about 65-degrees Fahrenheit. Just plug it in and set the seed trays on top.
38 Once you've seeded, and watered, place plastic tops on the tray to create a mini greenhouse environment for the plants. The tops can be removed once the seeds have germinated. Have fun planting seeds!