Well, its February 3rd so many gardeners have planted their 28 Day Indoor Garden Challenge seeds, and may even be seeing little sprouts already. Nicely done!
There are also gardeners still interested in getting going, or who may be coming by to pick up their free seeds today or Saturday. No problem - starting exactly February 1st is not the most important thing. Rather, we hope you can go into this stress free and looking forward to the experiment; it really is meant to be about doing something fun during the in-betweener month of (approximately) February.
We have noticed some common questions, through our email and at the social media hashtag #28dayindoorgarden, and wanted to share answers to several of the most common questions we have heard.
seedlings sprouting in recycled lettuce container
What kind of container can I use?
Good news... just about any convenient shallow container with drainage is perfect. Recycling produce containers (like strawberry or lettuce mix packaging) is ideal, as it really is an appropriate repurposing. Plastic flower pots work nicely, but really do not have to be very tall (2" is perfect). At Sage we like to use 11" x 11" nursery trays with drainage holes, as these grow a lot of greens in a small space.
Sea Soil compost, which we blend into an organic potting mix at 40% / 60% for indoor greens
What kind of soil should I use?
The soil does make a big difference to this project. We recommend a blend of 40% compost / 60% organic potting mix. For the compost we use Sea Soil, because it has such an excellent nutrient profile and slow release qualities. We use Black Gold for the potting mix, as it has some worm castings already mixed into it, ideal for seedlings. The really helpful thing about all of this is having ample nutrition built into the mix, so the plants just grow!
Full spectrum grow lights will definitely make things grow faster, but are not required
Where can I grow my indoor garden?
Anywhere bright is the basic requirement. Most leafy greens prefer lots of light, and the reason for choosing to do this challenge in February is we are now starting to see a definite spike in daylight hours and intensity. This makes a big difference. Even then, if you do have full spectrum grow lights your indoor garden will grow fuller, faster.
Another consideration when it comes to location is the temperature. Salad greens and any of the cool season veggies (peas, Asian greens, cilantro, mustards, radishes etc) do best where they are not blasted by forced air. Best space is a little cool. Summery greens such as basil and dill, by contrast, grow much faster where they have warmth.
How do I plant my seeds?
Its really easy! Simply pre-moisten the soil scatter the seeds liberally on top of the soil. So long as the seeds stick to the soil they will germinate (no need to cover or burry).
Compared to spring transplant production, these seedlings will be thick. We typically plant about 100 - 150 seeds in the 11" x 11" trays.
This short video covers planting your seeds
How much do I water?
This will depend, but basically use your finger to check. If soil feels lightly dry to the touch (poked into the soil), water deeply so some water drains through the container. If the soil is moist to the touch check on it the next day.
These are the most common questions we have noticed, but if you have others, or would like to get a hands-on experience, the 28 Day Challenge is our theme for Saturday Garden Club this week. I'll demonstrate a variety of container styles, and show case other types of seeds that can be grown indoors in February. I'll also talk about the various ways the plants can be grown up and harvested, as well as thinking beyond the 28 days.
Saturday Garden Club is totally FREE and runs from 10 am to about noon. No need to register ahead of time. We do encourage you to bring shareable baking with the recipe... and everyone loves that!
If you still have 28 Day Challenge seeds to pick-up this a great opportunity to get a whole workshop on the project!