1. Gather materials. Here I have some organic seed starting mix, a water bottle (and a cup off to the side) and my potting tray. Today I will be using a 72 cell Pro-Tray (good for small seeded herbs & flowers, lettuce, leeks, onions, beets, endive, and kohlrabi (YUCK!)).
2. Spray surface of soil with fine mist, or in my case continue to moisten by dumping a cup of water over moistened surface soil. You want the mix to be moist, not real wet. I go for a consistency that will lossely clump in my hand when squeezed. This wetting of the mix can be done in a bucket or wash bin.
3. Scoop/pour/dump mix onto flat and brush across into cells. Fill to the top and then compact. If you have 2 trays of the same size use one on top to gently apply pressure into the cells below. The seeds I was sowing today required a 1/4-1/2 inch of depth. Below I have my Chipollini rows labeled, the seed in the dish, and the mix lightly pressed to the desired depth- ready to begin sowing!
4. Drop desired amont of seeds into individual cells, be sure to mark the variety sown and date if you are sowing more than one variety in a flat. The seeds can be difficult to see and remembering what just went where can be easily forgotten or confused, especially when small children are interupting the task.
Two seeds were sown per cell on the onions and kale, I did 3 for the spinach since spinach seed deteriorates quickly with age, and these are 2009 seeds. There are many methods of getting the seeds placed where you want them....I either drop a couple in by hand or use a small dish and a plant marker to slide 'em in as I go.
5. I used the dish pictured above to dust the top of the tray with mix after all cells were sown. Take caution to not dislodge any seeds when smoothing out the mix over the cells. One could also just spoon mix into each cell and avoid this risk. Once the cells are topped off, spray with a gentle mist to moisten. My seeds were covered with a dome to help retain moisture. Some seeds will now require being placed on a heat mat, but the varieties I sowed prefer a cooler soil temperature (50-75 degrees) so they just went onto the heated floor in my bathroom.
6. Keep soil most during the germination period. As soon as you see green get the seedlings under lights. My light et-up will be assembled this weekend, stay tuned!