Intro: Starting Your Garden Indoors
Have you ever thought about growing a garden, but just havent yet?
Maybe you do grow a garden but dont like paying the high cost of buying plants every spring?
Well than this is the Instructable for you. I will show you step by step, on how I start my garden inside
and maintain the plants until they are ready to be planted outside. This is really easy, even those of
you that think you have a "brown thumb" will be able to do this. So lets move on to the next step.
Step 1: What You Will Need
WHAT YOU WILL NEED
First you will need an area to grow in, you can grow anywhere as long as you have warmth and light.
Most of us have somewhere in the house that is warm and free of drafts, light can be acihieved several ways,
you can grow near a south facing window, you can use flourescent shop lights like I do. or you can use
red and blue LED's.
Next you will need something to grow them in, I use mini greenhouses that you can buy at any home store, they dont cost a whole lot either, $5 each to grow 72 plants, but you can use anything that will hold soil and be able to have drainage from the water.
You will need soil, potting soil works really well because it is light and lets the roots form better. But once again use what you have, it will work.
And finally you need seeds, Seeds can be aquired just about anywhere. Chosse the varieties of vegetables that you will eat, theres no point in growing something you dont like.
Step 2: Planting Your Seeds
Once you have established where you are going to grow, and have your light source, growing containers and seeds, you are now ready to begin. You need to fill your containers with your growing media, (soil, peat pots, etc.). Once they are filled you can start putting in your seeds. When planting the seeds a rule of thumb on how deep they should be planted is, plant as deep as the seed is long, so most seeds dont need to be planted deep. I normally put my seeds on top of the soil and lightly cover them with soil. Also for best results put 2-3 seeds per spot, due to the fact that seeds do not have a 100% germination rate, which means that not all of them will sprout. And if you get lucky and all 3 seeds sprout, you can keep the best and strongest looking one and pull the others out. Now its time to water them, another tip is to water with warm water the first time, this will warm the soil and help aid in sprouting the seeds. Once they are watered cover them with the greenhouse lids or if you are using a different container cover it with plastic wrap, this will create a nice warm humid environment to help your seeds sprout. Dont forget to label them when you plant so that you know what seeds are which plants. After a few day you will see the sprouts coming up through the soil.
Step 3: Caring for Your Seedlings
CONGRATULATIONS!!!!!! You have now grown seedlings. I told you your brown thumb didnt matter.
Now that your seedlings have all sprouted, you need to introduce them to light. You will need to make your light source height adjustable. You can stack books at each end, use strings to hang, any way that you can in order to raise and lower the lights. When the plants are outside, the sun creates a very wide spectrum of light, when using artificial light, you cannot create the full spectrum that the sun has, so you have to keep the lights alot closer. keep the lights about 2-3 inches from the plants at all times, if its any higher, your plants will get "leggy". They will still grow, but they will not be as strong. When the lights are high, the plant puts all of its energy into trying to reach the light source, so the stem stays skinny and grows tall, when you keep it close to the plant, most of its energy goes into stem and plant production, making a stout healthy plant. As the plant starts to grow, move the light up accordingly 2-3 inches at a time. Keep your plants watered as well, you dont want the soil dry, but you dont want it saturated as well. Think of how dirt feels when you dig a hole outside, moist but not wet, thats how you want to keep your soil.
Step 4: You Now Have Plants.
Give yourself a big pat on the back, and walk with your head a little higher, you now have full fledged plants.
You can tell when they are plants, they will have bigger, different shaped leaves, than the original 2 leaves that sprouted. Now you should transplant them into a bigger container. I use small disposable plastic cups, I put 4-5 smal holes in the bottom of the cups to let them have drainage. At this time you can start fertilizing them, I recommend an organic fertilizer.I use whats known as compost tea. Compost tea is essentially compost mixed with water, I use this ever 10 -14 days to water them, it gives them all the nutrients that they need to become healthy plants. Also at this time you can start managing the light, keep it on for 10 hrs and off for 14 hours, that will mimic the days outside.
Step 5: Time to Plant Outside
Once your area has experienced its last frost, you can take your plants outside and plant them in the garden. Watch them grow, and produce all the fresh, healthy, organic vegetables that you can now eat, can, give away. Your body, and friends and family will love you for these fresh healthy vegetables.