Re: Garden 2019
The only thing I start from seed, is varieties the Amish greenhouse where I buy my plants, does not have. A couple types of paste tomatoes, some onions that were sent to me by a fellow from this forum, to keep them going, and some Leeks.
Last year, I tried germinating seeds in dampened paper towels, placed in a seal-able sandwich bag, with all but about 1" of it left open to breathe. I just placed them on a card table in the living room, which has a lot of sunlight coming in. Most garden forums,and videos tell you seeds will germinate in about 5-7 days. I soon found out with especially the onions, they need to be checked on the 3rd, or 4th day. I also found it's best to use coffee filters, instead of paper towels,because after 6 days, the onions roots had grown through the paper towel, and had to tear the paper towel to get the seedling out. I broke a few in the process. Although they did survive,were smaller than the others with full roots. And, the longer the roots, the harder it is, to poke that rascal down in a small hole of starting soil. I just use the eraser end on a lead pencil to make divots. Then a pair of tweezers to set the seedling. Just kinda' take my index finger, and thumb to pull the media up around the seedling.
Some I started in March, and some later. I'll probably wait a while,until the first of April this year, due to the biofumigtion experiment, and won't be able to set plants until around the first of June. But, once in starting soil, they grew pretty fast. Some I started in 50 cell trays,and others in the 6-pack trays that fit in a flat from previous years of buying plants.
Here's a couple of pictures of some tomato seeds, and onion seeds I started last year. I even started some Asparagus, and Rhubarb seeds the same way. All worked very well, especially the Rhubarb which were good sized in 4 days. But, temps in the living room average 75ļ, so they took off fast.
The least expensive starting media I have purchased has been Pro-Mix, that comes in a compacted bale similar to peat moss. A bale of that will go a long way. I just checked the local Menards, and a 2 cu.ft. bale is almost $13.00. Any big box garden center should carry it. I also bought a bag of vermiculite, and mixed it like 70/30, for a little additional moisture retainer. I bought 3 of the bales, probably 6 years ago, during a clearance sale, and have half a bale left, and I know I've started nearly 1,000 seedlings with the other 2-1/2 bales in those 6 years.
I used a couple standard 3500 Lumen LED shop lights for grow lights, and they worked pretty well. But nothing like real sunlight, after transferring them outside into the little greenhouse I built. Within a week, they were a deep dark lush green. I was late getting them out there, due to a cool wet Spring.
To each his own on seed starting, but this worked well for me, and I'll keep using it. At least you know for sure you have a full tray of plants, and no empty cells.