March 20, 2012

Tips for Tuesday – Starting Seeds Indoors!

Happy 1st Day of Spring! I am just so excited to say it’s SPRING! Still in the back of my mind I think this may be a cruel joke at the hands of mother nature but my morning weather guy –Brian Karstens or as {G} and I call him “Bubba Karstens” – has assured me as of yesterday morning that he really doubts March will dip back below the 50’s for highs during the day. Which means SPRING is here…. along with tornados in the mid west but that my friends is another day.

Before I get started with today’s tip I want to remind you to stop in tomorrow for a NEW Simply Adapting Story! Megan from {Sharing our Shenanigans} will be telling her story about starting a family in a state away from home.


On this FABULOUS Tuesday I wanted to share some Green Thumb techniques I love when planning ahead to my summer garden. If you haven’t thought about starting your seeds you really should! By taking advantage of the warm season you could plant an early garden with a longer growing season which in return will give you even more produce over the summer time! YAY!

I’m kind of bummed but this year since my priority is not getting a garden started until after our move… I am hopeful we don't move too late into the spring/summer so that I can still plant a garden. Last years garden was okay… but spring came late and the growing season was a HOT one. We didn’t get much yield until August and by then it was too late. 

Here are some great ideas to start seedlings indoors!

First thing you need to do is go to a garden store and pick out which veggies you want to grow this summer. Here are the typical ones
  • Cherry Tomatoes
  • Big Boy or Rutgers Slicing Tomatoes
  • Green Peppers
  • Jalapenos
  • Yellow Squash
  • Cucumbers
  • Sweet Corn
  • Peas
You can certainly start any seed indoors, those are just a few of my favorite. * Caution – If using Jalapeno seeds be careful to wash your hands before touching your face. Residue from seeds will burn your eyes.
Once you have chosen what you would like to plant you really need to think about how many to plant. Lots of times people who plant gardens are just going to have a little plot in their back yard that is maybe 12 x 12 feet. For that you are NOT going to use an entire packet of seeds. Maybe plan with a friend and split the cost of the packages or store them in a cool dry place and use them next year.
Usually I will plant – 6 tomato Large plants, 3 cherries, 6 green peppers, 1 jalapeño, 2 rows of 10 sweet corn seeds, 3 peas, and 3 squash.

It’s just my husband and I so are garden is small. Also, if you have a good long growing season you can become QUICKLY over whelmed with endless squash and tomatoes.

{How to start seedlings indoors}

There are a few way to make little seed starting kits. Here are some of my favorites that don’t cost a thing and you are recycling!

{The toilet paper roll}

This is a great one for families! I bet you go through TP like crazy in your house! If you do start saving the rolls to use in starting your seeds.

How? Cute the TP rolls in halves or thirds. At one end cut 1/2 inch slits and fold to create a flat bottom surface. To Secure use masking tape.

* Rule of Thumb – ALWAYS LABEL and DATE.

{ News Paper Cups }

Don’t have time to stock up on TP rolls? That’s okay here is another alternative.

How? Fold a piece of news paper until it is the width of a soda can. Using the soda can roll the news paper around it then fold one end underneath and secure with masking tape.


And my Favorite!
{The Egg Carton Technique}
They just look so cute!
How? It doesn’t matter whether you want a large garden or small one, this technique is great because you can get egg cartons in a small 6pk like above or in a mammoth size in which your family will suffer with EGGs for breakfast, lunch, and dinner (super) for 2 weeks. Holy eggies that’s a lot!

It’s the easiest though since you can just fill them with soil and start planting!
Here are some helpful tips I used to teach to my plant science students:
  1. It’s called SOIL not dirt… dirt is found on the bottom of your shoe and is made up of skin particles, dust, and non-organic material. SOIL is rich in nutrients and fertilizers which your plants need to live a healthy and happy life. Don’t call it dirt.
  2. When planting a seed you want to fill the container up until there is about a quarter inch left before the top. I always say use your finger tip as a marker, from the last knuckle on your pointer finger  to the nail is just enough. You need a little room at the top of the soil line so that when you water it does not “Run-ith over” :)
  3. Your seed needs to be covered with the soil but remember seeds need light to grow so if you plant your seed too far into the container it won’t be able to collect that light and begin to grow. Using the tip of a pencil is easy, go about 3/4 inch into the soil then fill and pack lightly.
  4. Watering – Make sure that you do not DROWN your seeds or in lots of cases forget to water. You want to water the soil enough to saturate the seed but if you over water you could kill it. I usually count to 3 ( 1 Mississippi, 2 Mississippi , 3 Mississippi- Done)  when sprinkling water over the containers.
  5. Warmth and Sunlight. Make sure to find a window ceil that gets lots of sunlight and very little draft. Warm is good!
  6. If all else fails when listening to me refer to the seed packet. I always make sure to read the packet to see depth of seed and growth time. Make a little calendar to mark when Germination (Growth) should start to occur in which plants. Then mark when its a good time to start preparing your garden and moving your seedlings to the outdoors.
I hope that you found this these Tips helpful!


As per Megan's request here is a diagram that I drew up of how we planted out garden last year.


  1. Thanks for posting this Brittany! I was just thinking about starting a garden this year! I think Weston and I are going to take a trip to the store one day this week and pick out seeds. Question: Could I see a map or doodle of how you set up your garden?? If it is not too much of a hassle. I really want to have one, but I really have NO CLUE what I am doing?!?!

  2. I love the toilet paper roll idea! I'm just starting to make the foray into growing plants with my daughter and that is a perfect size for her! I hope your adventure is going well so far from DE!


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