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Starting Seeds Inside While it’s Still Too cold Outside
by Carol Gardner
January 25, 2009

Sowing vegetable seeds with children is a great way to introduce them to gardening. Browse the seed catalogues and select the seeds together. When they arrive, you’ll need some simple equipment – containers, sterilized seed-starting mix and plastic film or bags.

  1. Containers needn’t be fancy - old food containers, plant flats or egg cartons will do the trick.
  2. Clean the container with hot, soapy water that contains a small amount of bleach, then punch small holes in the bottom for drainage.
  3. Fill the container with the moistened soil mix. Don’t be tempted to use soil from your garden; you could be importing pests and diseases.
  4. Check the seed packet for directions on the correct planting depth, spacing and time to sow. Note that some seeds need refrigeration or soaking before planting.
  5. After placing the seeds, cover them with a light dusting of soil.
  6. Cover the container with a plastic bag to conserve moisture; remove it when the seeds begin to germinate.
  7. Keep the container in a warm (18-22 °C) brightly lit space or under fluorescent lights.
  8. Moisten the soil with hot water for the first few days, and then gradually reduce the heat of the water to room temperature.
  9. When the seeds have sprouted their first set of leaves, transfer them to individual pots. Using peat pots will allow you to plant them directly into the garden without disturbing their roots.

Carol Gardner is an award winning freelance writer and a member of the Garden Writers Association who gardens in Unionville. Ontario.

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