Newly sprouted seedlings are exceedingly vulnerable to pests and the elements. This is why seed starting is a very effective way to ensure your crops will prosper and produce a high quality yield. Seed starting is a process of growing seedlings in controlled greenhouses where they can receive precise watering and controlled temperatures. When the crops grow stronger, they are then transplanted into the native soil where they can grow to their complete form. Commercial farms will use large walk-in greenhouses but smaller alternatives can easily be made at home. Once the seeds are almost to the point of being ready for transplant, you should move them to outdoor seedling tables where they can be acclimated to the natural elements before being brought to the soil.
In our garden memoirs class, we are getting hands-on experience with seed starting of our own. We started by making homemade greenhouses where our seedlings can thrive in our dorm rooms. I choose to grow eggplant because my townhouse has a large window that receives an abundance of sunlight perfect for the heat loving plant. To construct our greenhouses, we brought tall boxes to class and cut out two sides with a box cutter to allow for sunlight exposure. We then simply wrapped the box in clear plastic to insulate the seedlings and continue to provide sunlight.
All that was left was to do was fill our containers with nutrient rich soil and lightly pack in down. I then spread my eggplant seeds throughout the container at the recommended depth of ¼ of an inch. I am currently watering my seedlings every day and awaiting the first signs of life in my homemade greenhouse. I look forward to watching them grow and eventually seeing them flourish in the Merrimack garden.