About The River

Monday, March 28, 2022

March Article for the Cameron Chronicle


Hello Friends,

Here is my latest article for the Cameron Chronicle..  

"The Little Paper With Personality."

Seed Starting 101


Seed Starting 101

By Carla TePaske of Cameron WI ~ The Little Garden That Could

There is nothing more rewarding than starting your own seeds. The thought of that little seed, growing into a seedling, planting it out in the garden and later harvesting from it, truly is a rewarding feeling.

I will be sharing a few tips for a successful seed starting season.

You will need seed trays, leak-proof bottom flats that support the trays, seed starting mix, clear dome lids or plastic wrap and a sunny window.

Step 1. Moisten your seed starting mix until it is thoroughly damp but not dripping wet.

Step 2. Fill seed trays or pots to the top with soil. Tap them as you fill so that the soil settles and there are no air pockets.

Step 3. Label the tray or pot with the name of the variety you plan to sow and the date planted.

Step 4. Make a shallow hole in each cell using a pencil or chopstick. A general rule is to plant the seed twice as deep as its longest side.

Step 5. Drop 1 seed into your hole.

Step 6. Cover newly sown seeds with a dusting of seed starting mix. Be careful not to bury the seeds too deep. Lightly mist the soil.

Step 7. Set in a sunny window and cover the trays with a clear dome or plastic wrap.

Step 8. Check seedlings daily and water as the soil appears dry, which can be every day or two. When the soil starts to become dry, add water to the bottom of the leak-proof tray, the seedlings will soak up the water from below.

Step 9. Check the trays daily. Once 50% to 75% of the seeds have sprouted, remove the domes or plastic wrap.

Step 10. Check seedlings daily for water. Seedlings can dry out very quickly in a warm sunny window.

Step 11. If seedlings begin to outgrow their trays/pots before you are ready to plant them outside, repot them into larger containers.

Step 12. It is important to harden off young plants before putting them out into the garden. Your plants can be shocked by the sudden change of temperature. To harden off, set trays in a sheltered spot outside, increase the amount of time they are out each day, starting with 2 to 3 hours, then increasing the time outside slowly over the course of a week or two.



  1. You are so knowledgeable with gardening, Carla. I hope to see your garden sometime this Spring and Summer. Wonderful that your article got into "The Little Paper With Personality." Love that name too.

    Happy Spring Carla!


  2. I would have a problem, no sunny windows. I haven't seen the sun in 6 ...or is it 7 days now. It's been so cold and drab and dark here. My dad used to start seeds in the basement with a grow light because it was such a problem trying to get sun in our area. I'm not patient enough for that though.

  3. These are all such great tips. I know you are getting excited to see your garden come to life. Happy New Week. Have a great one. xoxo Kris

  4. We are thinking about doing this, this year. Like everything, plants will be very expensive. Seedlings might be a good idea!


  5. Your instructions are always so clear and do-able!! Plus you are such a good writer!

  6. I love starting my own seeds and also find it rewarding and worth the efforts. My husband made my grow-light stand and I used to start my seeds in the basement also but since the last two floods, I've moved the grow-light stand in my sunroom. It gets crowded in there during since I've been growing sweet potatoes in large pots.
    Your local newspaper is lucky to have you write a gardening column. You are now a celebrity in your area.

    Happy planting.
    Hugs, Julia

  7. I saw this article in the paper! Great job!

  8. Great advice Carla. Hopefully your weather will cooperate soon so you can plant your seedlings outside. Janice

  9. Very nice! It's an exciting time of year. :)

  10. This is so informative and interesting. What seedlings have you started this year?

  11. I am so thrilled you have this outlet, Carla. It puts all your knowledge to good use. We are suffering with the 10˚weather we had this morning and I can't wait until our WI temps warm up. I know you must be excited for the spring and summer season. xo Diana

  12. Great instructions! For our first time, we are starting some flowers from seed this year!

  13. Carla, I love your articles. I always learn so much and this post has made me yearn for spring even more than the deep freeze we're stuck in now. xxoo

  14. Girl I wish I had what it took to see all of that through. You're a star. xoxo

  15. Your instructions are excellent. I saved this to a board on my Feedly account.


High Fives from Wisconsin!