Three Seed Starting Methods
Compressed peat pellets
Compressed peat pellets can be purchased in bulk or with a small “greenhouse”. You can start with the “greenhouse” and then buy extra peat pellets for future use or use. A salad/deli container or shoe box would also work. Place the pellets in desired container, add about 1″ of warm water, check in 30 minutes or so. If pellets are not thoroughly expanded and damp add more water. If the pellets are expanded, pour off any extra water. Plant seed in the end with an opening in the netting. Put on the lid. Check everyday! As soon as the first seedling emerges remove the lid and put under lights.
Toilet Paper or Paper Towel Tubes
Toilet paper or paper towel rolls in a shoe box or plastic storage container or salad/deli box.
Cut a empty toilet paper roll in half or if using a paper towel roll cut into about 2″ sections. Place rolls into a plastic container. Plastic storage containers or shoe boxes work well – the size will depend on how many you want to start at a time. Fill the rolls with damp seed starting mix. Plant seeds and put on the lid. Check everyday! As soon as the first seedling emerges remove the lid and put under lights. There is not bottom on the tubes themselves which is a benefit. The seedling will more easily be transplanted without root damage. The soil mix and roots hold the seedling in place.
Seed Starting Mix in Salad/Deli containers Fill a plastic lidded deli or salad container with about 2″ of damp seed starting mix. Plant your seeds in blocks or rows. Put on the lid. Check everyday! As soon as the first seedling emerges remove the lid and put under lights. There is a greater chance of root damage with this method. Use a chopstick, toothpick, or other small tool to gently remove the seeding when transplanting.
Below: Tomato and cabbage seedlings under lights. The light is tilted in this photo to accommodate the taller seedlings which have been transplanted into pots (on the left).