Step 4: Watch, Wait, and Water
Depending on the type of plant, it may be a week to two weeks before the seeds sprout. During this time, you’ll want to keep the nascent seedlings well-watered and make sure that they don’t get too cold (most plastic seedling trays come with a clear cover to create a little greenhouse-like environment).
Step 5: Transplant The Young ‘Uns
Pretty soon, you should see determined little green heads breaking through the dirt.
Follow the directions on the back of each packet to determine the right time to transplant the seedlings to their adult homes (whether they be terra cotta pots or a garden bed) as each one will vary.
One of the nice things about using the egg carton instead of an actual plastic seed tray is that you can just cut the egg carton into 12 separate pieces and plant each one in the dirt when the seedlings are ready for transplant. The paper will dissolve as the plant takes root in its new pot.
If you use a plastic seedling tray, you’ll need to loosen each one individually (pushing up from the bottom and using a knife to cut around the sides is helpful) so that you can pop it out into your hand and place it in a well of dirt in the ground or in a pot. Try to be as gentle as possible since this will be a fairly traumatic process for your tender young seedlings. Again, follow the planting and spacing instructions on each packet and be sure to use organic dirt in the pots or garden beds. Water the transplanted seedlings well after you’ve moved them.
Step 6: Enjoy the Harvest
You’ll need to continue to water regularly and to make sure the baby plants are getting enough light and staying warm. Bugs may also be an issue so keep an eye out for any infestations (and remember that ladybugs and spiders are your friends as they eat pests). As spring and summer progress, you should start to enjoy having a bounty of fresh herbs at your fingertips whenever you want them. Check out this luscious photo of my mint plant below to get a glimpse of what could be in store for you if you start your own kitchen garden.
Happy planting! May no bugs besmirch your beloved botanical beauties. And Happy Earth Day!
More Ways To Green Your Kitchen from The Garden of Eating
- Nix the Antibacterials
- Slay the Energy Vampires
- Buy In Bulk
- Grow Your Own Garlic
- Say ‘Buh-Bye’ to Bottled Water
- BYOB (Bring Your Own Bags)
- How To Choose the “Right” Milk
- Skip the BPA, Switch to Glass Storage Containers
- Forget Free-Range, Buy Pasture-Raised Eggs From a Local Farm
- Buy BPA-Free Tomatoes & Beans