saved seeds to be grown (my 1st time)
My kids had a blast helping with the garden last year, and one of their favorite parts was sprouting seeds in baggies. We had a prolific crop of cherry tomatoes, a ton of ginormous beefsteaks, and 2 kinds of roma-type plants, one of which was a hybrid. The hybrid *sucked* and the other one was awesome. Guess which one of the 4 I did not keep seeds from!
This year, I plan to split the 3 varieties so that half of the seeds are started in baggies and half are in a starter kit of some sort with a seed starter mix.
I first want to reaffirm a couple things to make sure I'm on the right track:
1. Once the seeds in baggies have sprouted, they should be immediately placed in the starter mix correct?
2. I don't have a heat pad that I can safely leave on while I'm not home, but we do have old style radiators. The one in the living room has a wooden plank across it almost like a bench. Would this work as a heat source?
3. I will be using some standard fluorescent bulbs on them once they emerge (sprout?), but as soon as I can I would like to start setting them out on the porch or in the backyard before I leave for work in the morning. What is the minimum temp at which this is acceptable and feasible not to absolutely kill the plants? They should be about 4 weeks old by this time. I'm more interested in creating hardy, sturdy plants than super-producers. In my mind I see this like the human immune system being strengthened by exposure to germs and such. (So I WON'T be using Miracle-Gro). The main reason for this is that I don't think the light I have will be sufficient for them once they start to really grow, and I don't have any windows that get decent sunlight.
4. Lastly, I have resigned myself to the fact that I will have to use a seed starter mix (I'm a cheapskate and hate spending money if I can DIY it for less or free!) but when it's time to pot them up, (that's the middle stage before they get transplanted out right?) couldn't I then use some of the well amended dirt from my garden? Like not all of it, but maybe mixed with the leftover starter mix if I have some left? Or even bagged garden soil from a store instead of 100% soil-less mix?