Growing your garden from seeds is rewarding, cost effective, and oftentimes certain varieties can only be found by seed. However, the trouble with starting seeds in flats can be daunting.
For example, if you only have a few seeds of a variety, or only wish to plant a few seedlings into your garden, a seed starting flat can be too large. If you try to plant several types of seeds, they may get mixed up or have different germinating times. If not careful, you could plant seeds that germinate within 7 – 10 days along with seeds that take 14 – 21 days. In addition, they are wide and not sized to be placed in a sunny window sill.
Reusing clear deli containers is a great way to get around the problems found with using large seed trays.
Once the seedlings have grown their first pair or two of true leaves, they can be repotted into a 4 inch pot. Be sure to do this gently, holding onto the leaf for support and sliding a plastic spoon under the soil to act as a mini shovel. By holding onto the leaf you do not run the risk of damaging the stem. The seedling can grow a new leaf easily, not a new stem.
Once the weather has gotten warm enough, harden off the seedlings by placing the pots outdoors for a few hours each day. After a week, they should be hardened off enough to go outside full time. Watch for windy weather as that can really dry out seedlings.