Synopsis: A very simple and inexpensive indoor seed starting setup, under $10
A Quick and Easy Indoor Seed Starter
By Wyzyrd – Editor-at-Large
This is about as easy as it gets for home food-production. :)
It’s still early, most places to think about starting next Summer’s garden, but plastic containers DO go on sale right after the holidays. Be prepared. :)
You will need:
1) A plastic container with a transparent or translucent top
2) clean potting mix
3) a small unglazed ceramic pot that fits inside your container with no (or filled) drainage hole
6) diluted chlorine bleach to clean everything between crops.
If your pot has a drainage hole(s) you will need:
1) a hot glue gun and glue stick OR
2) non-toxic silicone caulk.
3) Small piece of aluminum foil
The container can be any convenient size. “Shoe box” ones are easy to find, and sometimes have clear, not just translucent tops. By dumb luck, the one shown here just happens to fit into a plastic and aluminum tubing “shoe rack” I use as a plant stand. (see final photo)
It has to be unglazed; plain ol’ terra cotta clay with no drainage hole. If you need small ones, check your local ‘megamart’. They frequently sell small succulents (cacti, etc.), all winter, in ideal clay pots. If you need to get a small one at a nursery, etc. and it has a standard drainage hole, sit it on top of a small piece of foil, fill the hole completely with hot glue or caulk, set it set up, seal it again, let set again, and remove the foil – you’re ready to roll. (You want the water you will put in the pot to slowly evaporate and seep slowly through the unglazed pot, not pour out the hole and make a giant mudpie)
Drainage hole filled with hot glue
When your ceramic pot is ready, sit it in the middle of the container, fill the bottom of container with an inch or so of damp (not wet) potting mix, sprinkle on your seeds, as evenly as possible (yeah, right….) cover lightly with more potting mix, sit the whole shootin’ match somewhere warm, with good light, fill the pot with water, put on the top (not airtight, or you will definitely grow mold- just a heads-up there) and walk away. Check water level every few days and keep it mostly full. (if you use more than 1 type of seed in a container, use plastic soda straws or something as dividing lines and label them- young folks might remember which is which – I never do..)
When your baby seedlings are ready to transplant, prick them out with an old plant label or a tongue depressor carved to a point, and re-pot in something bigger. If you want to get all “chef-y”, use some scissors to give part of your crop a haircut for “micro-greens”.
Planted, filled with water, and under lights. All done.
Easy, inexpensive, and it works like a charm.
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