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If you’re home with the kids, gardening is a great activity to teach them about life cycles and responsibility with a healthy dose of patience built-in.  One of the best ways to get kids, and adults, to eat veggies is to grow them yourself! How about an indoor vegetable garden?

TIP: Plant seeds indoors and transfer them outside once they are established. This gives them a better chance of succeeding and lets you get a head start on the growing season. If you would like to grow entirely indoors, it’s best to go with radishes and carrots. If you have a balcony or a garden, you can certainly consider other vegetables like tomatoes, cucumers, etc.

We have plenty of tips to keep you busy while staying at home during this Corona pandemic, but this tip is dedicated to all of you who would like to start gardening!

Here are some more to keep you busy reading:

 

How to start growing seedlings for your indoor vegetable garden

You can purchase seed packs at many grocery or drug stores, and all home and gardening stores (even online) such as OBI (the orange building), TOOM (the one with the little man as a mascot), or any other local Baumarkt. ManoMano is an online home improvement and gardening shop that also offers some great discounts.

Conversely, you can use seeds from produce that you enjoy at home or cut off part of a tuber as seen here with ginger. We are currently growing Hokkaido pumpkin and delicious cherry tomatoes from the seeds of last month’s groceries.

Quick growing plants include radishes, salad leaves, bush beans, carrots, and spinach. These are ready to harvest in 1 – 2 months allowing for multiple plantings this summer.

STEP 1: Prepare your containers with seed starter soil (try not to use soil from your garden as it might contain pathogens that can harm young plants). This is a great chance to use some cardboard egg cartons, yogurt cups, paper cups or milk cartons before recycling them later on.

STEP 2: Plant according to seed packet directions. Cover with plastic wrap with a few holes poked in to allow air exchange but retain moisture levels. You can see below that I’ve re-purposed the packaging from strawberries (washed first to prevent contamination).

STEP 3: Place somewhere warm to encourage growth (on top of a fridge where they won’t be knocked over is ideal), but at the first signs of green, be sure to move them somewhere with plenty of sun.

STEP 4: Mist with a spray bottle as needed. They should NOT be soggy as this may cause the seeds to rot or grow mold.

 

How to transfer seedlings when you no longer need them indoors 

Once the seedlings are established (the roots have sprouted and they are requiring regular watering, it’s time to transfer them into larger containers or your garden.

STEP 1: Before just jumping in, you’ll need to get them used to the outside temperatures.  This can be done by leaving the trays out during the warmer parts of the day (make sure that they are protected from wind during this stage) and bringing them back in at night. After about a week, they should be able to withstand the cooler overnight temperatures.

STEP 2: Dig a hole deep enough so that the soil level of the seedling container and the new soil is equal. Tap down around the roots after planting and water well. Make sure there are no weeds present competing for light and nutrients.

TIP: Try to replant your seedlings on a cloudy day to avoid burning them. They are going to be stressed from the move and need a few days to settle into their new surrounding.

Optional: Add mulch around the base (but not touching it). This will keep more moisture in the ground and decrease the amount of water needed.

Now your plants are ready to enjoy!

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