Starting Your Seeds Inside The Easy Way – Apartment Gardening Series

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For many people around the country, spring has come extremely early. Here in the great state of Texas, I think that spring took over winter and we narrowly escaped having to experience the cold that should accompany this time of year. With all this crazy warm weather here so early, I got started on my garden extra early this year! As it turns out, I do not have acres of sprawling fields and forests. I live in an apartment and have a patio worth of space to fill up, but that is not stopping me from building a fruitful garden to feed my family!

Anyone can grow their own food, even if you live in an apartment

Many people are blown away when I tell them that I am growing my own herbs, fruits, and veggies all on the front and back patio of my apartment. Most find themselves asking how that is even possible with so little room, but I am here to tell you that you can easily grow a garden even in the smallest of spaces! Apartment gardening is much the same as gardening in a backyard or on a small plot of land, except you are container gardening instead of sowing the seeds right into the ground. There are MANY different choices for containers to grow your veggies in, but first, you need to start your seeds and watch as your seedlings mature, before you can start planting them into their containers. (More on container gardening in the next part of this series!)

This post is sponsored by the good folks at Park Seed gardening supplies (You can also find them on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram). I was generously given the Park Bio-Dome, Sunblaster Seed Starting Light System and plenty of Non-GMO seeds to review, but my opinions are my own! I will only share with you products that I myself love and use personally!

Starting your seeds the easy way with Park Seed

While there are many different methods that you can choose to start your seeds (more on that below!), the easiest way to start your seeds, is with one of Park Seed's Bio Domes, a good light system, and of course with organic/heirloom (non-GMO) seeds! It might sound like a costly venture, and some systems can be very costly, but for what we need in an apartment, Park Seed has us covered, and at a low cost! I felt like it was kismet when I received an email from them asking my if I wanted to review their gardening supplies and seeds. I was just starting my planning for my garden and they had exactly what I was looking for to get my little apartment garden going! I asked them to send me these items because I thought that this would be the cheapest and easiest way for YOU to start a garden in your small space:

  • Park's Original Bio Dome with 40 Jumbo CellsWhen starting your seeds, many seeds need a high amount of humidity and heat to germinate. While you can achieve this with some plastic wrap to cover the seedling tray, it's much easier to have a dome system that allows you to control the humidity and air flow. Park's Original Bio Dome with 40 Jumbo Cells gives you the control you need. to help grow bigger, better-root seedlings in much less space. Not only do you have the ability to control the humidity and air flow, Park's Bio Domes all come with their proprietary Bio-Sponge rooting medium, so all that you need are seeds and water to get started! The bio-sponge rooting medium takes the place of soil and leaves no mess or waste behind. It is able to maintain an ideal moisture level so that you don't accidentally drown or dehydrate your baby plants. This awesome system is perfect for starting your apartment garden! It's like a mini apartment greenhouse, without taking up so much space or breaking the bank. You can either use the Bio Dome with natural sunlight in your brightest windows around your apartment or if you have an apartment with very little light, you can use it below a small light system on a table or countertop.
  • Sunblaster Seed Starting Light System – When you live in an apartment, having the sunlight hitting the right windows or balcony can be difficult depending on what side of the building you got stuck with. With a house, you would simply grow your garden on the side of the house that gets the best sunlight, but with an apartment, you sometimes have to come up with solutions to your sun problems using modern technology! With the right kind of plant light, you can easily get your seedling and even some of your indoor houseplants the sunshine they need to grow big and strong, but you don't have to shell out a lot of cash for a crazy rig, you can simply get a Sunblaster Seed Starting Light System and house it on a desk/table or even a kitchen counter! I have mine on a desk in the living room, and my cats seem to think it's their own very special sunlight warming system…I am growing seedlings and monster cats! LOL One of my favorite things about having a light stand is that you can put it on a timer and it will turn your plant light on and off for you! I have been known to use plant lights in the middle of winter to grow my culinary herbs as well! That way you get yummy herbs year around!
  • Organic & Heirloom (Non-GMO) Vegetable, Fruit, & Herb Seeds – What is a garden without the seeds to grow your plants? While you can buy your organic veggies, fruits, and herbs as small plants, already started for you, there is nothing like growing your baby plants from seeds. Not only do you learn more about the plant itself, but you truly know what went into growing it. Watching my seedlings sprout from the ground for the first time is always so satisfying, I find myself falling in love with each one that digs its head out of the dirt and shoots towards the sky. If you are learning herbalism, the process of growing from seed is very important to your plant education. It gives you a better understanding of that plant and its uses when you see the conditions that it thrives in from birth. It is important to try to attain as much organic, heirloom, and non-GMO seeds for your garden as possible and grow those seeds using organic methods rather than toxic pesticides. We'll go over natural organic methods in a later post!

How to start your seeds inside

Starting your seeds during the last moments of the cold dark winter brings up a cycle that is as ancient as man. Nurturing life that will, in turn, give us life in the coming months of harvest. You need very little to start your seeds inside. Some seeds can even be started between the folds of a damp paper towel and set out in the sunlight. Others need to be planted a bit deeper, in total darkness and warmth, for them to finally break their heads above the surface. Here's how I start my seeds inside:

Using Park's Original Bio-Dome

  1. Place a seed in the bio-sponge in each cell.
  2. Add the desired amount of bio-sponges to a bowl of water and soak for 15 minutes, until expanded and completely swollen.
  3. Insert the sponges into the holes of the Park Bio-Starter block.
  4. For most seeds, place one or more seeds into the pre-made hole at the center of each Bio-Sponge. If sowing very tiny seeds, simply place the seed on the surface of the sponge.
  5. Place the Bio-Dome in a warm sunny spot in your apartment.
  6. To water, fill the bottom tray 1/4″-1/2″ with water. The Bio-Sponges will absorb exactly what the seedling need to keep them moist!
  7. Give your seedling sunlight every day. If you live in a warm sunny area with lots of windows, you can place your seedlings in the window. If you live in a darker space, a grow light would be very beneficial to helping your plants get the sunlight they need to grow healthy and strong.

Using Soil & Seed Starting Pots

  1. Moisten your seed starting soil (I like to use this seed starting soil or you could use Park's Organic Seed Starter Potting Mix) using warm water. I like to mix it in a bucket to save on mess.
  2. Add your soil to seed starting pot of choice (If you are wanting a compostable DIY pot, seed below) to fill it up.
  3. Plant seeds according to instructions on the seed packet.
  4. Place seedlings on a tray together and keep them in a warm sunny location or underneath a plant light.
  5. For more humidity, you can cover the tray with saran wrap, to hold in the humidity.
  6. To water, fill the bottom tray with 1/4″-1/2″ of water, or sprinkle the water on top of the soil. I prefer to water from the bottom because it helps prevent over-watering, promotes stronger/longer roots, and prevents disruption to the seedlings.
  7. Give your seedling sunlight every day. If you live in a warm sunny area with lots of windows, you can place your seedlings in the window. If you live in a darker space, a grow light would be very beneficial to helping your plants get the sunlight they need to grow healthy and strong.

Compostable seed starting pots from food scraps and recyclables

If you don't have the money, don't want to buy, or simply like the idea of composting/recycling things around your home, you can also make your own seed starting pots from all sorts of food scraps and recyclables! These are just some ideas that you can use for a great compostable seed starting pot! I have personally used egg shells and egg cartons, but I have had friends successfully use the others on this list as well!

  • egg shells
  • egg cartons
  • newspaper
  • toilet paper rolls
  • paper cups
  • shredded paper (pulp paper cups)
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