I found that as I started to add the potting soil to the peat pots and then added the water that I noticed a spring in my step. It's amazing what gardening does for me. It's not just the sunshine or the good food. A huge part of what makes me happy to garden is the anticipation. As you can see my set up is not fancy. A greenhouse is in the dream stage still. Why do I start my own plants? Check it out below.
You'll need a few things to get started. A sturdy waterproof table. This one is from Lifetime.
Here's a closer look at the setup.
And an even closer look at the adjustable chain. Something to hold up your lights. I've seen others hang them from long chains attached to the ceiling. I use the ladder game that would just be sitting in the garage. Whatever works for you, use that method.
Trays to hold your pots. I like to water into the tray. Peat pots, old solo cups with holes in the bottom, or pots you've sanitized that you picked up at the garden center in years past. I prefer the peat pots for some things, like peppers, spinach, and just about anything that needs a little room for its roots.
This is the first year I'm trying celery in a peat pot. I got 22 peat pots/$1.50 last year.
Last year I used these little window sill trays with the tiny discs in them. They worked fine but I wonder if the peat pot will work better. So I've got both going. If you're going to use these, celery, cabbage, and romaine lettuce do well in these.
Potting soil. Please don't mix dirt with your potting soil. Transplants have a hard time with disease and dirt is too compact for the roots. Potting soil is perfect for transplants. I live in a dry climate so I use a potting soil instead of a seed starting mix. It holds water a little better, especially when my heater is running 24/7. Again, do whatever works for you.
Something to water your plants with. Seeds will float away with a harsh stream of water. Water lightly or water in the tray.
I found that my peppers, which take a very long time to sprout when compared with other vegetables, sprout quicker and more of them sprout with a little heat. You can get a heat mat sold at garden centers or just use an old heating pad in good condition. I set mine on low and it keeps them the right temperature. I plug it into the time so it goes off at night.
The fan is used after they sprout. A little wind resistance cuts back on mold AND it also strengthens the stems and leaves.
Reasons I start my own transplants:
#1 It's less expensive.
#2 I have my plants ready when I want them. Parts of my garden have protective covers which I use in the spring and fall. That means I can put my plants outside earlier and quite often the garden centers don't have the plants I want when I want them.
#3 I have fewer problems with onions going to seed when I start them from seed rather than from sets.
#4 I love being around plants.
#5 My children better understand the process of how plants grow.