We had to spray the plants every few days with a mixture of water, dish soap, and neem oil to get rid of them. We also used sticky strips to catch whatever was already flying around, which works really well.
Most hardware stores and garden centres carry seed starting kits. You can sometimes find them at the dollar store, too. These kits usually have some kind of tray that either holds peat pucks or has room for soil and comes with a lid. These kits are handy, and I own one myself, but they aren’t your only option.
We ended up with a bad case of fungus gnats from using an infected bag of potting soil (from a very popular brand). They are technically harmless, but they are also a total nuisance!
Dealing with Bugs
If you don’t have a meter, stick your index finger all the way into the soil. If it’s dry, water the plant. If it’s damp or wet, check again the next day.
Let’s say you’ve already directly sown your seeds and then you find out the temperature outside is going drop drastically. What do you do?
I encourage you to use what best suits your needs. If you’re trying to stick to a budget, use what’s available to you. If you’re worried about damaging the plants when transplanting them, use a container that will break down when it gets wet (like the cardboard cups).
The process of dragging every plant outside and back in again was tiresome. I did eventually start corralling the smaller containers into large baskets and trays so I could move more plants at a time, but it was still not fun.
Inquiry is encouraging and honoring the process of questioning, exploring and discovering, the acquisition of knowledge.
Kindness is to nurture an atmosphere or environment in which compassion and mutual understanding is highly encouraged and modeled.
Collaboration is cultivating an intentional partnership between students, families, teachers and our larger community in which we work towards a common goal.
At Growing Seeds, we choose to begin and end each of our interactions with respect and joy. This is both intentional and natural for us. We use kindness, collaboration, inquiry, and reflection to foster nurturing relationships between the members of our community.
Our mission is providing families, children and staff a learning community in which all participants develop through a spiral dance of observation, inquiry, reflection and documentation. We create an intentional environment where each participant is respected as a responsible contributing member in our community. We see the participants as co-researchers, co-learners and collaborators in the building of our community.
Reflection is revisiting our experiences to create new pathways of deeper connections and understandings.
Seed-starting containers should be clean, measure at least 2-3 inches deep and have drainage holes. They can be plastic pots, cell packs, peat pots, plastic flats, yogurt cups, even eggshells. As long as they are clean (soak in a 9 parts water to one part household bleach for 10 minutes), the options are endless. You can also buy seed-starting kits, but don’t invest a lot of money until you’re sure you’ll be starting seeds every year. If you start seeds in very small containers or plastic flats, you’ll need to transplant seedlings into slightly larger pots once they have their first set of true leaves. Keep in mind that flats and pots take up room, so make sure you have enough sunny space for all the seedlings you start.
2. Start with quality soil.
Sow seeds in sterile, seed-starting mix or potting soil available in nurseries and garden centers. Don’t use garden soil, it’s too heavy, contains weeds seeds, and possibly, disease organisms. Wet the soil with warm water before filling seed-starting containers.
Here are the basics in 10 steps.
3. Plant at the proper depth.
You’ll find the proper planting depth on the seed packet. The general rule of thumb is to cover seeds with soil equal to three times their thickness – but be sure to read the seed packet planting instructions carefully. Some seeds, including certain lettuces and snapdragons, need light to germinate and should rest on the soil surface but still be in good contact with moist soil. Gentle tamping after sowing will help. After planting your seeds, use a spray bottle to wet the soil again.
Start feeding your seedlings after they develop their second set of true leaves, applying a half-strength liquid fertilizer weekly. Apply it gently so seedlings are not dislodged from the soil. After four weeks, apply full-strength liquid fertilizer every other week until transplanting.