Soil and starting mixes
If you want to buy: This is where our gardeners recommend that you spend your money. There’s nothing more frustrating than mixing up your own soil only to have unwanted and unknown sprouts join the party! “The seedling soil is the same mix as regular potting soil, but is finer quality which might help for some seeds,” says Gilhuly.
If you want to DIY: “My mom used to bake garden soil in the oven to sterilize it before using it to start seeds,” says Stewart. “I've never tried that, although I have tried making my own mix of garden soil, compost and vermipost. Stewart describes her mix as “light, rich and extremely fertile.” So fertile in fact, that she had all sorts of plants and fungi sprouting up with her seedlings. Lesson learned! Invest in ready-made mix.
If you want to buy: Garden shops and specialty stores have plenty of options for seed markers, everything from stickers and pre-printed labels to metal markers you can push into your soil. If you’re going to purchase pre-made, spend a little more on markers you can reuse year after year and tailor to the plants you’re growing.
If you want to DIY: This is the simplest DIY of them all, says Stewart. “All you need are a permanent marker and some popsicle sticks, old plastic containers or aluminum cans cut into strips.”
Photo from istock/Waldo4