In this day of money-saving ideas, it just makes sense to start seeds for your garden rather than buying the plant set. A package of seeds will cost under $2.00 for about 20 seeds. A tomato plant in a 4 inch pot may set you back $3.00.
Germinate Seeds in Great Soil
Again I am preaching on the importance of soil or growing medium to germinate your seeds. Plant them in a flat, a paper cup, a plastic box that held a salad, or whatever you choose, but do not, do not, fill those containers with dirt from your garden. The delicate roots don't need to compete with rocks and sand and clay to grow. Make it easy for them to snuggle into a nice comfy home of sterile soil. This will make a stronger plant that will be able to transplant nicely when it is grown from a baby to a teen ager.
Timing Seeds to be Ready to Transplant
Read the back of the seed packet to see how many days it will take until you can enjoy that delicious vegetable. Then you must calculate backwards when the weather will allow you to set the seedlings outdoors. Figure from that point the date to plant the seed inside to grow it to transplant size. Some folks get the urge to plant and start their seedlings so early that soon they have a huge plant that needs to be transplanted but the weather is not favorable for growing. So especially be careful when figuring tomato and pepper plant seedlings.
Choose a light area to begin your seeds whether a bright window, grow light, cold frame, or greenhouse. If you see that the plants are growing tall and stringy, then you definitely need more light. Yellowing leaves is usually a result of keeping the soil too dry or too wet. Always, always feel the soil before watering.
Cold Frames and Greenhouses
Cold frames can be constructed as simply as a box with an old window on top of it. Just be sure that you have a way of propping open the top so that the plants won't bake in the spring sunshine.
Greenhouse kits are available in every size, but I can assure you that once you get into raising plants in the greenhouse, you will soon outgrow that greenhouse. It's just a law of nature, I think. Check out the photos here of the greenhouse that my husband constructed this year. It is made of pvc pipe which is inserted into a larger sleeve in the ground. After the plants have been transferred to the garden, he will take down the greenhouse and put it away until next spring. He put two sheets of poly on the house with a small fan to inflate the layers. This helps to keep the cold out and the warm in, and the poly is tight and not blown about in a wind. If you have questions about the construction, please contact me.
Best of luck in seed starting, germination, and transplanting. I bet you can't wait to sink your teeth into those delicious tomatoes, peppers, or your favorite vegetables.