Starting and Growing your own Seedlings indoors

I am seemeth Alberta urban garden dot CA

it's time to start your seedlings inside

for this upcoming season starting

seedlings at home helps me not only

manage my excitement about the upcoming

growing season but it helps save some

money as well on today's episode in the

urban gardening series I'm going to go

through how I start my seedlings to get

a head start on my growing season and a

couple of methods I use to make sure

that I'm saving some money in the

process as well in the last installment

of the urban gardening series I

addressed lighting sources and my

preference for using natural light if

you missed that episode I will put a

link in the description below and at the

end of this video the only additional

cost of starting your own seedlings

indoors aside from the lighting source

is the cost of pots seeds soil and water

one of the methods that I use in order

to keep the cost down is I use recycled

pots I save my own seeds and I use water

that's already been used and say my

kitchen to wash other vegetables which

essentially brings the cost per seedling

down to simply the soil that I use to

fill the pots I get my potting soil and

compost for about 50 cents a pot I do

have to get 200 liters in order to

reduce the cost through the scale of

economy and I catch the products on

clearance at the end of the season

normally I'm an advocate of

do-it-yourself using free and local

resources however in this case I've

chosen to actually purchase my potting

soil for one main reason pests outdoors

are managed by the ecosystem themselves

they have predators that keep their

populations under control and any damage

in the garden to a minimum indoors those

same pests can wreak havoc and destroy

your investment relatively quickly

because there's no natural predators

inside as I've mentioned in the past the

process of shipping and packaging

products significantly reduces the

concentration of things like fungi and

bacteria within that product the same is

true for pests especially large bodied

pests such as fungus gnats while

shipping their numbers are significantly


in order to further reduce the chance

that I'll have an outbreak in my house

what I do is I actually store these

products in my garage that gets very

cold in the winter and very hot in the


further stressing any populations out

that are in the product are ready if you

anticipate an issue with your potting

soil you can pasteurize the soil before

using it while this is energy intensive

I feel this is one of the cases where

compromise may be required it in order

to meet your overall goal of growing

more food for as little as possible now

that you have your soil your equipment

and your lighting serves it's time to

start seed well almost

let's backtrack for a moment to that

list that we created in an earlier

segment in this series as I mentioned

earlier finding out your last frost date

will help you know when to plant your

seedlings my average last frost date is

May 16th the second piece of information

you will need is how far in advance of

your last frost date you'll need to

start your seedlings the simplest way

that I have found is to look on the back

of the seed package 'as if you don't

have one you can always check the seed

starting schedules the back of books

like Square Foot Gardening or on the


often these recommended dates are simply

the weeks before your last frost date

that you need to start that crop so it's

simply a matter of knowing your last

frost date and counting back the number

of weeks to figure out when you need to

start your sealing I like to write down

even the direct sow seeds in the garden

from now until June I'll have something

to plan on a fairly frequent basis there

are a few crops that you can start at

any time such as herbs leafy greens and

peppers herbs and leafy greens can be

started and harvested indoors at any

time I started mine in December after I

put up my growing shelf peppers can also

be started any time I usually start my

peppers when I get that first itch to

grow something it's usually around

Christmas peppers can be pruned in order

to keep them under control while helping

you to develop a large healthy plant

that will produce during the summer

usually the last day that I will start

my peppers is based on the

recommendation found on the back of the

seed package 'as if you wait too long

for something like peppers which are

really acclimated to a tropical climate

you may not have enough time in your

growing season to harvest a crop for the

first Frost's if you are looking on some

seed packages there may be some other

recommendations for timing some crops

even in zone 3 can be planted and

harvested a number of times throughout

the season crops like radishes

peas and carrots can often be planted

more than once on the seed packages of

these crops they will often refer to a

schedule such as every two to four weeks

I take full advantage of these crops

putting them in areas that are not being

used and successively harvesting them

another odd hunting schedule you may see

is two seasons some of the cold hardy

crops will have two planting dates one

in the spring and another in the fall I

will be making a second list for my

second round of plantings for my winter

garden now that we have a planting

schedule it's time to start your seeds

seed starting is usually fairly simple

unlike herbs from part four of the

series crops like tomatoes and peppers

only really need a few seeds to be

planted I usually do more than one just

in case not all of them germinate after

your seeds germinate if there's more

than one of say a pepper or tomato it's

time to thin them out I usually wait

until they have at least a few sets of

their first true leaves these are easy

to identify as often they are the second

set of leaves that you see and generally

look different from the first ones

thinning seedlings although probably my

least favorite task is essential if you

leave more than one seedling in a pot

over time they're going to compete with

each other reducing their vigor and size

and maybe impeding your ability to get a

good healthy crop out of at least one of

these plants thinning is fairly simple I

usually take two sharp scissors and

remove the smallest or least appealing

seedling first and move up from there

until I am left with the largest and

healthiest looking seedling when I water

it's usually when I pick up the plant

and it actually feels light at uzt

bottom water at this time now bottom

watering is said to encourage deep root

development and I don't actually have

any research to support that statement

today however I do it for

very different reason pests and diseases

such as fungus gnats often get

established when the surface of the soil

stays too wet for too long

bottom watering reduces how long that

surface soil is saturated reducing the

chances that these pests will get

established in addition it reduces the

leaching of nutrients from the soil as

the water needs to be waked up instead

of draining down in order to avoid over

watering I usually start with two or

three centimeters or one inch of water

in the tray if it is sucked up in a

matter of moments I'll add another

centimeter or two I make sure there is a

full drying cycle between each watering

keeping roots soaking wet is not great

and other diseases can get established I

do not usually fertilize my seedlings

during the winter I mix one part

soilless potting mix with one part

compost the potting mix holds the water

while allowing free drainage and the

compost feeds my seedlings I think many

of you will be surprised how long you

can go without fertilizing your


I have not needed to rely on any

fertilizers indoors for the last two

growing seasons if your plants are

trying to flower like this pepper plant

is you can let it go however you will

sacrifice plant vigor and size of your

crop later on in the season I usually

remove them if this plant is meant to be

used in the garden if your herbs are

leafy greens get a little too large

there's nothing wrong with a little

winter snack if you have any questions

about getting your seedlings started or

have any problems that you've

encountered feel free to ask questions

over on the alberta urban garden

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