Does an Early Start Mean Bigger Tomatoes? It Might...
Tired of long winter nights, and itching to get your fingers in some dirt? Start next summer's garden plants indoors tomorrow, from seed. You'll get a head start on Spring, you'll save money on bedding plants, and maybe best of all, seeds give you access to heirloom and other unusual varieites of plants you probably won't find at your local garden center.
The Center of the Seedling Enterprise
Get a jump start on the growing season with the Hydrofarm Germination Station. Its seventy-two small cells let you start a wide variety of seeds such as tomatoes, peppers, and cauliflower. A clear plastic top keeps the soil moist, and a low-wattage heating pad gives your seeds a nice, warm bed to wake up in. Comes complete with planting and growing instructions.
You'll Need Some Dirt. Make it Organic.
A small bag of organic seed starter soil mix, like this one from Scott's, is all you need to get your babies started on the right foot. Well, soil and a little water. And light. Fill the Germination Station cells with moist seed starter, and plant a seed (or two) in each according to package directions.
Stand back and let them grow!
Let There Be Light
Light is essential to your seeds' growth. A solid, sturdy grow light like this one from Grower Supply Company is your best bet: instead of hanging from some hook, this light stands on T-shaped legs. The two, four-foot fluorescent bulbs can be adjusted up and down to keep pace with the plant's growth.
More Power to You
You can't leave the grow light on all night long, and the simplest solution is a set-it-and-forget-it timer. A Utilitech dual-outlet timer controls two plugs, and can be set up to turn both on and off with the timer or to leave one plug on constantly. For a setup that includes both a grow light and a heating pad, it's ideal.
When Your Babies Start Growing
The Germination Station's tiny cells will quickly crowd tender roots. As soon as the seedlings put on three or four pairs of true leaves, slip them out of their little cell and tuck them into peat pots. These from Burpee will (usually) disintegrate after planting, giving the adult plant plenty of root coverage. Make certain to cut off the bottoms first, just in case...
OK, Which Tomatoes Were Those...
When you slip those seedlings into their peat pots, tuck a Rapiclip Plant Label into each pot so you can identify the little guys at planting (or passing to neighbors) time. These are reusable - a couple of times, anyway - and the names stay right with the plant instead of on the end of the row.
Get a Head Start on Last Frost
You'll Want Seeds - Some heirloom Tomato Varieties
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