Posted on 24 April 2007 by

Jumpstart Your Garden by Starting Your Seeds Indoors

Jump Start Your Garden - Urban Gardening

By Reggie Solomon

Get a headstart on the growing season can be starting your plants indoors in seed trays.

You can find seed trays at your local home and garden store or online.

How to Pick the Appropriate Seed Tray
Seed trays tend to come in one standard base tray size but with varying-sized cell spaces.

Generally speaking cell size should mirror the size of the seed and the size of the seedling to be transplanted.

The larger the seed, or the larger the seedling to be transplanted, the larger the cell space you’ll need. The smaller the seed, or the smaller the seedling to be planted, the smaller the cell space you’ll need.

For example, tomato seeds are small but its seedlings are usually transplanted once they have reached a fairly mature size so they require a large cell space that can accommodate more root development.

Basil seeds are also small, but its seedlings are usually transplanted at mid-maturity so they require a cell space that can accommodate more than just a sprouting of growth.

Lettuce and many leafy greens and flowers with small seeds can be planted in the smallest of cell spaces because they are often transplanted relatively soon after germination and don’t require lots of space to develop their roots.

Jump Starting Your Garden - Urban Gardening

It’s tempting to walk into a garden center and purchase the tray with the highest number of cell spaces (usually 72) because you think you’re getting more value by getting more cell spaces for the dollar, but you should first consider what you intend to grow if you want to give your seedlings the best start.

Planting pumpkin seeds in a cell tray intended to grow lettuce will not make your pumpkin seeds happy when you get home.

The Most Common Seed Tray and Seedling Pairings
Seed trays are generally come in three cell sizes — 24, 38 and 72. Below cell sizes that pair well with various vegetables and flowers.

  • 24 -Cell (large seeds) – cucumber, eggplant, melons, pumpkin, squash, tomatoes, and large-seeded herbs and flowers
  • 38-Cell (medium-sized seeds) — basil, peppers, other veggies, herbs and flowers
  • 72-Cell — (small seeds, leafy greens) — beets, endive, kohlrabi, lettuce, leeks, onions, parsley, radicchio, and small-seeded herbs and flowers

Peat Box and Peat Pellet Seed Starters
You can also start seedlings in peat boxes or by using peat pellets. Peat boxes and peat pellets should be purchased in a size appropriate for the size of the seed and transplant as outlined above.

Special care should be taken to leave space between pellet seedlings so neighboring plants’ root systems do not entangle.

A benefit to starting seedlings with either of these peat-based systems is that you can plant the entire box or pellet below ground when you’re ready to transplant rather than wriggle them from a standard regular seedling tray.

Now get out there and jumpstart your garden urban garden!

2 Responses to “Jumpstart Your Garden by Starting Your Seeds Indoors”

  1. Morgan C Says:

    I am writing in regards to the “seedling Photo” next to the latest article writen by Reggie Solomon.
    I wanted to find out about the copyright info for this photo because I would love to use it on my website.

  2. reggiecausual Says:

    hey – you can find the first photo at dreamstime or photostock. the 2nd photo is mine. all the best, reggie solomon

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