I know garden season has started when doing stairs seriously becomes part of my workout routine and Jeff is teasing me for treating plants like babies! The dream is to one day have a proper greenhouse with an automated watering system and precise temperature control, but that day is not today and I have hundreds of seedlings I need to grow for our current gardens. I take a lot of pride in growing strong seedlings for the plants I transplant into the garden. This is an area I have researched quite a lot and tried a few different methods.
We currently grow all our seedlings in our basement (hence the stair routine). Jeff framed me a small room which we sealed off with black and white plastic and tuck tape. I have a table outside of the grow room which all my supplies go on and its at a good ergonomic height. However, I usually have 2 little people helping me and so the floor does become the more common seeding area!
I take a lot of pride in growing strong seedlings and the following are our top tips based on our seedling program. There are lots of great resources out there that cover seed starting more comprehensively but this will get you started!
Our grow room is very small but we still manage to grow a few hundred seedlings in it thanks to vertical space. Inside our grow room we use metal garage storage racks with adjustable shelving. I have 4 shelves that I can plant on.
Temperature control is extremely important for consistent germination rates. Some seeds like tomatoes, peppers, squash and melons are heat lovers and need a lot of heat to germinate. Other seeds like cauliflower, broccoli and cabbage like things a bit on the cooler side. In our seed room we typically are just starting the heat lovers and our basement is quite cool so we do need a heat source. We use seedling mats for our heat source and we have found that placing a thin layer of foil bubble insulation under the mats makes them much more efficient. I definitely recommend using a thermostat temperature controller with your heat mats so that you can monitor your soil temperature and make your mats as efficient as possible.