Starting Plants IndoorsSeeds can be germinated and seedlings started in a box, pan or flowerpot of soil in a window. In addition to having at least 6 hours of direct sunlight each day, the room must be kept reasonably warm at all times.
Washed fine sand and shredded sphagnum moss are plants with long skinny leaves excellent media in which to start seeds. Place a layer of easily drained soil in the bottom of a flat and cover this soil with a layer – about three-fourths inch thick – of either fine sand or sphagnum moss. Press the sand or moss to form a smooth, firm seedbed.
Then, using a jig, make furrows in the seedbed one-half inch deep. Water the sand or moss thoroughly and allow it to drain.
Sow seeds thinly in the rows and cover the seeds lightly with a second layer of sand or moss. Sprinkle the flat, preferably with a fine mist, and cover the flat with a sheet of clear plastic film. The plastic film diffuses and subdues the light and holds moisture in the soil and air surrounding the seeds. Plastic films offer advantages over glass coverings in that they are light in weight and are nonshattering.
Place the seeded and covered flat in a location that is reasonably warm at all times and has 6 hours of direct sunlight each day. The flat will require no further attention until after the seedlings have developed their first true leaves. They are then ready to transplant to other containers.
It is seldom possible to keep the transplanted plants in house windows without their becoming spindling and weak. For healthy growth, place them in a hotbed, coldframe, or other place where they will receive an abundance of sunshine, ample ventilation, and a suitable temperature.
Strong, vigorous seedlings can be started under 40-watt fluorescent tubes. These tubes should be 6 to 8 inches above the seedlings. Temperatures should be about 60F at night and 70F during the day. Best results are obtained if the fluorescent fixture is next to a window to increase the amount of light reaching