Tomato seeds were sown into the other flat on the 20th and the first sprouts were appearing yesterday.
The next seed starting project is for seeds that don't like to have their roots disturbed. Those seeds get sown in paper pots. I have a nifty little paper pot maker which you can see in the background above. I tear newspaper into strips about 3 1/2 inches wide by 12 inches long.
A strip of paper is wrapped around the pot maker with about 1 1/2 inches extending off the end of the form.
Pleat the overhanging paper over the end of the mold.
The flat above contains newly sown seeds of Magnolia Blossom Snap Peas and Green Beauty Snow peas. When I put the plants in the garden, I tear off the top 1/2 inch or so of paper to make sure that it doesn't extend above the soil. Doing so prevents the exposed paper from wicking moisture away from the rest of the pot buried in the soil.
In my opinion, the paper pots are far better than peat pots for a few of reasons. First, it's a way of recycling newspaper rather than using a resource that is only very slowly regenerated. But more importantly, paper pots allow for better root development. Peat pots decompose very slowly and roots don't get through them very easily. The paper pots, on the other hand, break down very rapidly once they are in the soil which allows roots to spread out easily. I even have seedlings that send their roots right through the sides of the pots into the neighboring pots while still in the seed tray. Another problem with peat pots is that if they are allowed to dry out too much they actually start to repel water and become difficult to rewet - not good for those tender little roots that are in contact with the peat.
The only complaint I have about paper pots is that making them is a bit tedious. So, I keep a stack of paper strips and the pot maker by the computer and when I'm sitting there waiting. . . . I grab a strip and make another pot. As soon as I 've made another tray of pots I will be sowing seeds of Golden Sweet Snow Peas, Red Florence Fennel, and Diamante Celeriac.