Perfect lighting for starting seeds indoors
1. starting seeds indoors to create an indoor garden,
2. growing herbs and flowers indoors from purchased seedlings,
3. growing and showcasing miniature or fairy gardens.
In this post, I'm focusing on starting seeds indoors, using Habitat Seed Mats or seeds purchased from your favorite garden supplier. I'll share other indoor gardening ideas in future blog posts, and I hope you'll both follow along and share your own indoor gardening experiences!
Starting Seeds Indoors with Habitat Seed Mats
Habitat Seed Mats are an easy way to plant in your Habitat planting tray a mix of edible flowers, herbs, or salad greens. While Habitat Seed Mats can also be planted and grown outdoors (in flower boxes or garden plots, for example) they are custom-sized to drop right into Habitat Planting Trays for easy planting. Here's a video, showing how easy it is to plant a Seed Mat in a Habitat Planting Tray:
Every Habitat Seed Mat has a unique feature: a center row of fast-flowering Brassica seeds that will germinate in just a few days and flower in only 2 weeks. This petite turnip relative will give you fast gratification as they quickly grow. Pictured here is a 2-week old Herb Habitat Seed Mat with fast-flowering Brassicas in full bloom. You can see that the basil gets started pretty quickly, too. Tiny thyme, marjoram, and oregano seeds take a little longer to germinate. After this photo, I snipped out the fast-flower Brassicas so they wouldn't shade nearby herb seedlings.
One of my favorite things about starting seeds indoors is being able to watch closely as each seedling pushes its way through the soil and unfurls its solar panels (the first leaves to open). When you purchase already-growing seedlings from a nursery, you miss out on that amazing event!
Indoor Kitchen Garden, Edible Flowers, and Herb Gardens
Salad greens grown in your Habitat can be harvested and eaten as baby leaf lettuce without ever transplanting outdoors. The small, flavorful mesculin mix greens in the Kitchen Garden Seed Mat add fresh flavors to your salad. The center row of Fast-flowering Brassicas can be used when they are in full flower as a bright yellow, edible garnish.
Other salad greens that you start from seed indoors can also be transplanted into larger containers or outdoors to grow full sized heads of lettuce, spinach or arugula. The size of plants you grow is determined by the type of seed planted (the genetics of the your seed variety), how much soil the plants have to grow in (soil volume) and the nutrients that are available in the soil (often supplemented with compost or fertilizer).
Miniature varieties of annual flowers such as zinnias and marigolds will thrive in your Habitat and produce beautiful flowers without being transplanted outdoors, too. Annual flower seeds are available in the Habitat Edible Flower Seed Mat or your favorite garden center or hardware store. I particularly enjoy the annual flowers that are included in Habitat Seed Mats--zinnias, marigolds, snapdragons, and calendulas. They are quick to produce brilliantly colored flowers that create a living bouquet in my Habitat.
I do enjoy receiving a lovely salad at a fine restaurant that is garnished with beautiful flowers, and while I do love adding microgreens to salads, I have to admit that I've only added flowers to salads a couple of times...at least, so far...
Starting Seeds Indoors: Spice up your cooking with home-grown herbs
Growing fresh herbs to cook with or use to create herb-infused water is really satisfying. The alternatives--using dried herbs (very different flavor profile) or buying packaged fresh herbs in the produce aisle--pale in comparison. And nearly always when I purchase fresh herbs, a substantial portion of the pack ends up in my compost pile :( Instead, consider starting seeds indoors for favorite your herbs. This can be a satisfying and delicious way to use your LED Habitat!
Planting herb seeds can be challenging for even the most nimble fingers because herb seeds are typically among the smallest seeds you'll work with. Many times I've tried to sprinkle the seeds evenly along a row in a planting tray only to find when they germinate that I planted three or four dense clumps of seeds instead. However, planting herb seeds is easy with a Habitat Herb Seed Mat.
You'll still have a little gardening to do after your seedlings break through the surface, and that's the fun of gardening with a Habitat—you can garden on a table or counter without any back-breaking bending or squatting and enjoy a cup of coffee as you thin or gently transplant a few seedlings.
Once your herb plants are established, you can decide if you want to thin and keep growing them in your Habitat Tray or transplant them into pots so that they grow a bit larger. Herb plants will stay LED Habitat sized and healthier if you trim and use some of their branches. We can share more about growing herbs in a future post--there are so many possibilities!
The Satisfaction of Starting Seeds Indoors
Whatever your choices are for starting seeds indoors in your LED Habitat, the best part is developing a close relationship with the plants you grow. Plants and humans have been living and working together in the soil of gardens and farms for a very long time, and there is no question that both plants and humans benefit from this relationship on many levels. Go find seeds for the plants you enjoy, then plant and tend them and watch them grow--there's nothing else like it!