Find more garden information
Ann is an avid gardener, cook and garden writer, and a Vermont Certified Horticulturist. She tends to her old farmhouse and organic homestead where she raises blueberries, raspberries, strawberries, and elderberries, as well as fruit and nut trees. Ann grows vegetables and herbs in raised beds and containers that are tucked into a lush landscape of perennial gardens in the scenic Winooski River Valley. A trained horticulturist and ecological landscape designer, she is the author of four gardening books, including Organic Gardening for Dummies, and is a longtime contributor to many magazines, websites and other publications.
The GrowEase Seed Starter Kit is a convenient, self-watering system.
How do I grow basil?" my daughter asked. Kate is a college student on a tight budget, but she likes to eat well and make fresh food. "I want to make tons of pesto this summer."
"Starting your own plants from seed is the least expensive way to go," I replied.
She's a new gardener whose enthusiasm surpasses her experience, I knew exactly how to help her get started. "I've got a foolproof solution for you." I gave her our GrowEase Seed Starter Kit. With enough space to start 24 basil plants, the kit includes everything she — and the basil seedlings — needs to get growing, all in one tidy package.
Knowing when and how much to water causes a lot of anxiety for newbie seed starters. Too much water and the roots rot. Too little and the sprouts wilt. Plus, alternating over-watering and under-watering stresses seedlings and stunts their growth. The self-watering seed-starting kit takes the worry out of watering. The seed tray sits on a capillary mat that wicks water from the reservoir below, giving the young plants moisture, as they need it. All Kate needs to do is keep the reservoir full. A clear greenhouse dome keeps the humidity high until the seeds sprout.
After her basil seedlings sprout and grow their first true leaves, it will be time for Kate to start fertilizing. Deborah, our test gardener, likes Plant Health Care for Seedlings/Houseplants.
It provides a good balance of nutrients plus plant extracts and beneficial bacteria to ensure healthy, resilient plants.
When it's time to transplant them outdoors, Kate's vigorous basil seedlings will acclimate quickly, grow faster and yield her first batch of pesto that much sooner. I hope she invites me to dinner!
The reservoir, growing tray and platform are all dishwasher-safe, making it easy to clean and disinfect them between plantings. Clean equipment is important to get seedlings off to a good start and prevent disease problems.
The sturdy GrowEase Seed Starter Kit will hold up to many seasons of use, as our family's newest gardener gains experience and confidence from her seedstarting success. I can't wait to see what she else she grows this year!
Last updated: 11/5/18
Stay up to date on new articles and advice.