Starting Seeds Indoors – Getting Supplies Ready

Starting Seeds Indoors – Getting Supplies Ready

On Cape Cod March might start out like a lion but it ends up like a cold, wet, and wind-blown lion…the lamb doesn’t usually show up until April in this region! But indoors we can be getting our seed-starting areas set up and some of our seeds sown.  Pepper seeds are often started in early March and Tomato, Eggplant, and Cannabis seeds are sown in mid to late March. This is the time to assemble the supplies you’ll need to successfully grow many healthy, strong seedlings. 

Right now, in early March, make sure your supplies are compete. If you’re recycling older pots, clean them and soak in a one-part bleach to nine-parts water solution. Have a sharpy and labels on hand to be sure your pots or flats are accurately labeled, especially if you’re starting several types of tomatoes or peppers. 

Seed starting mix is formulated to keep the right level of moisture while your seeds are germinating.

TIP: Put your seed starting mix in a large bowl or tub and add water. Mix it well to make sure the mix is evenly moist. Then fill your containers with this moist starting mix. Never fill and plant in dry planting mix because the water will just run off due to the surface tension of the peat moss that’s in the media.

There are all types of containers for seed-starting, from the individual nine-packs to larger Jiffy pots. The plastic trays we carry (bottom shelf on left)  are good for holding your packs and pots so the excess water doesn’t fall on the ground.

TIP: We have clear lids for flats – short and tall – that can make a small greenhouse for your seedlings. 

Most seeds need warmth to germinate. Using a seed-starting heat mat can help. We carry thin mats that fit on a windowsill, and larger ones that will go under three or four flats.

TIP: Don’t use a heating pad or other household heater because they can get too hot and aren’t made for wet situations. 

When you start seeds inside you’ll need lights if you don’t have a greenhouse. This system raises the grow-lights as your plants get bigger. Come into the store to see other lights and systems that will make your early spring gardening get off to a good start. 

Tip: Keep lights on for 14 to 15 hours but do give plants a dark period as well. Use a timer so that the lights come on and off automatically.

Once your seeds are planted, check the pots daily to monitor for sprouting and the moisture in the soil. Small seedlings don’t need watering as often, but once the young plants get three or more sets of leaves they will be absorbing more moisture every day. Let the surface of your potting mix dry a bit in between waterings, but don’t let the mix get so dry that the plants wilt.

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