Starting Seeds Indoors

The homesteading life is easy… said no one ever. Here at the Roost, we began our spring by scrambling with fencing to keep rabbits out of my tulips. Since then, we’ve planted bare root trees and shrubs, extended our drip system, tilled rows for cut flowers, transplanted blueberries and roses, lay down weed block between raised beds, sowed early season vegetable seeds, mulched, weeded, mowed, and planted way too many gladiolus.

It seems like since moving into our house, we’ve made so many gardening mistakes, like hoping that a fence made out of fishing line would keep the deer away from the tomatoes (ha!). But each year I’ve gained so much more knowledge. I’m gradually gaining confidence as a gardener, and I wouldn’t be surprised if, a few decades from now, my thumb finally turned kind of green.

Thanks to my growing confidence, this year I decided that I didn’t want to buy flower and vegetable starts at a nursery… I wanted to grow them from seed like a real farmer! The problem is that we don’t have a greenhouse. So I thought I could plant some seeds in the south facing windows of our house, but apparently that really doesn’t work here in Washington where so many of our spring days are grey. So I bought some grow lights and chose a couple of spots in our house to dedicate to seed growing.

I bought a mint green library-inspired cart and decked it out with some flexible clip-on grow lights. Since the cart has wheels, I’ll be able to roll the whole unit onto the porch to gradually accustom my seedlings to the elements before planting. The grow lights have a timer so I don’t have to turn them on and off manually, and their flexible arms can be moved up as seedlings grow. I also used inexpensive boot trays from IKEA to line each of the shelves. They happen to fit perfectly, and serve as giant drip trays for my pots.

Unfortunately, after I really got going on my seed-starting venture, I ran out of space on my cart. And thus the seedling cabinet was born.

This cabinet in our family room didn’t have too much inside it, so I cleared it out and installed four shelf-mounted grow lights. The lights come with stickers for mounting them on the bottom of shelves. Since our power strip was on the floor behind the unit, we drilled small holes in the back of our unit to thread the cords through. To protect our wood shelves, I placed the plastic pots on drip trays and oblong plastic serving trays. The seedlings seem to be loving the warmth and humidity inside.

When it came time to pot up my tomatoes and peppers, I found some four-inch white nursery pots. I like them because I can easily label my plants by writing directly on the pots, and they don’t hinder the light and airy vibe of our house. And call me a crazy plant lady, but I think my seedlings really add a certain something to the decor in our home. I’d rather see green things in this cabinet than a whole bunch of clutter. Though these cat tchotchkes that my dad gave me seemed to fit right into this indoor garden 🙂

My sweet little seedlings are doing pretty well so far. But we’ll see how they do after I harden them off and put them in the great outdoors. I’m sure that by this time next year I’ll have lots more gardening experience to carry forward.

Happy gardening! May all our thumbs grow greener with time ❤

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