A big part, among many, of growing your own veges is to save money. The cheapest way to do this is to start them from seed. Unfortunately this can be easier said than done as seed growing can be a little bit temperamental. But once you get the hang of it and start with easy vegetables then your away laughing. One thing to think about is where you will keep your seed trays once they are planted. Ideally they prefer a humid warm environment to encourage germination. Light doesn’t become a factor until the seedlings have germinated and are growing.
I have just purchased this walk in greenhouse from Trade Me for under $80 (good bargain, generally cost $150ish from stores. Check out seller bestsaver for their range as I am very happy with the quality) You can also get smaller shelf houses which are good if you only plan on growing a small amount, just make sure they are tucked away out of the wind.
Now because I am going to be doing a fair bit of growing I have brought in half a metre of garden mix. It is a mixture of compost and good top soil and I am told still suitable for pots. You can go for the seed raising mixes but they are basically just finely sieved potting mix so not the most economical solution. So to use this mix for seed raising the important thing is to sieve it before you use it. You can pick up cheap plastic sieves from garden centres for around $5-$10. It is important to take out the chunky bits as seeds wont germinate through or around them.
The next consideration is seed punnets or trays. Both can be purchased quite cheaply, you can recycle punnets from seedlings previously purchased or if you ask your local garden centre nicely they may let you have some from their recycling bin (they not normally that keen as they do loose a sale)
Personally I normally prefer the cell punnets as the plants roots don’t get tangled as they grow and therefore you don’t cause as much shock when it comes to transplanting. With a bit more of their own room they also tend to grow a bit bigger faster.
For very early spring and because I am using a greenhouse I have sown seeds of cucumber, zucchini, sweetcorn, beetroot, red onion, silverbeet & tomatoes. Planting depths for seeds is generally dictated by the size so this is where you need to check the back of the packet for instructions of how deep to sow. Fill the punnets with your sieved mix, leaving enough to allow for enough mix on top. These zucchini seeds are large so are planted 1cm deep. Press down the mix into the punnets to remove any air pockets (roots won’t grow through air pockets).
Sow the seed then cover with mix and press down again. Label the punnet with name and date sown. Some seeds take longer than others to germinate and if nothing has happened within 2-3 weeks you know something has gone wrong, which can vary from the seed not being viable (check packets for expiry date) to snails getting them or from a fungal attack on the germinating seeds.
Keep punnets evenly moist with a light spray, using a small watering can or pressure sprayer. Hopefully you will start to see results over the next 10+ days.