It’s that time of year again – that time where I drag out the shelves, lights, trays, dirt, seeds, etc. and start the planting process! Also known as the time of year my husband resents me the most (maybe not really). But that nice clean space in our dining room that once existed has now been claimed by a huge mess of plants and bright lights. I’ve greatly expanded my seed starting operation over the last couple of years, mainly to save some money (I’ll show you my set up in a few weeks). I grow a lot of plants and if I were to buy them all at the nursery, I would be broke. The initial investment can be a bit, mainly the shelves and the lights, but after that the only real expense will be soil and seeds, which is fairly minimal. I decided to put together an inspiration board of all of my favorite seed starting supplies in anticipation of starting my seeds in the next couple of weeks:
1. Seed Markers $9.10 – Kaufmann Merchantile – Essential for writing down what seed you’ve planted and the date you planted it. When planting tomatoes, I also make note whether or not is in indeterminate (i) or determinate (d) so I know which ones to transplant directly into pots in the spring. I like the wood markers because they will eventually break down in the compost but I also don’t mind using the plastic ones as they can be cleaned and re-used.
2. Grow Light $39.97 – Home Depot – I purchased an inexpensive shop light a few years ago and it works great – just make sure the bulbs you purchase are daylight bulbs – I asked an employee for help picking the right bulbs. The best part of these lights is that the height is adjustable for various growing stages and if you use the wooden shelves, you can easy screw in a few of those little hooks for ease of light hanging.
3. Notebooks $14.00 – Rifle Paper Co – I keep a notebook of seed starting schedules, when things were transplanted into larger pots, etc. It is great to reference back the next year instead of re-inventing the wheel every year.
4. Heating Mat $42.15 – Amazon.ca – Perfect for getting seeds like peppers and tomatoes to germinate quickly. I only keep my heating mat on until all of the seeds have germinated and then it goes back in to storage (it fits inside of my seedling trays so it isn’t take up any additional storage space to have it).
5. Seed Starting Mix $5.95 – Good quality seed starting mixture is essential. I don’t buy this specific brand, but I buy a locally made product from the nursery. I always underestimate how much I will actually need and usually end up having to make multiple visits to the nursery to stock up.
6. Pot Maker $19.57 – Kaufmann Merchantile – I have a similar one from Lee Valley and it is not an essential, but it is very fun to use and is a good reuse for newspaper you would otherwise throw in the recycle bin. Perfect for starting flower seeds that you will directly transplant into the garden.
7. Seeds – Happy Cat Farms – Obviously you need seeds, but why not try out something new that you’ve never planted before. This year I am trying out cow peas, orach, shiso, and fava beans!
8. Seedling Trays $5.95 – Veseys – I love these trays because they are very space efficient, inexpensive and are re-useable – and they stack for easy storage when not in use.
9. Plant Tray $9.95 – The garden centre sells a lot of flimsy plastic trays which I hate – I need something sturdy that will hold up to being brought inside and outside during the hardening off stage. Last year I finally invested in a good quality tray with taller sides that is made from a much sturdier plastic and I can’t express how much easier it has made that aspect of the spring for me.
10. Shelf $109.00 – Ikea – I can quickly become surrounded by seedlings as it nears planting time and being able to keep things in layers is so much less chaotic. Plus I can actually use these shelves in my basement for storage in the off-season (having things do double duty in my smallish house is essential!).
Do you start seeds in the winter time? What are some of your favorite seed starting supplies? I’d love to hear any feedback!