This week I want to show you how I start a lot of my plants. It's an easy process and I've grown many nice plants from seed...even hostas! At the price of plants from the nursery, this is a real money saver.
Save your milk cartons. Using a heavy-duty pair of scissors, make a cut about 4 inches from the bottom starting by the handle, and cutting horizontally around to the other side of the carton, leaving the handle as a "hinge". Next, make 6 or so drainage cuts in the bottom (be careful and don't stab yourself!) Label the bottom of your carton with a permanent marker naming the seed you plan to plant.
Fill the bottom of the carton with a good quality potting soil, almost to the top. Now water it well, making sure all the soil is drenched.
Take your seed and sprinkle or place over the top of the soil. Press tiny seeds into the surface of the damp soil, and cover larger seeds with a light covering of the soil.
Push the top down, putting the top into the bottom of the carton in order to keep the "lid" shut. Leave the cap off the carton. You've just made a mini-greenhouse.
Keep it outside in a sunny location, even in the extreme cold! Check occasionally for watering, especially on warm winter days. Keep soil moist.
Depending on the weather conditions, you can expect to see green sprouts as soon as a week and as long as several weeks. As soon as you see sprouts, make sure you keep your baby plants watered. A good way is with a spray bottle. Don't allow your soil to dry out. Keep the carton open to the sun during the day, closing it for night.
As soon as you see the first or second set of true leaves, you can transplant your baby plants to their new location in your garden, or you can wait until they're a little larger if the weather hasn't warmed quite enough.
Try growing tomatoes and peppers for vegetables, and try sweet William (dianthus), snapdragons, gaillardia or rudbeckia for flowers.
Have you ever started your own plants from seed? Have any other questions?