I am lucky (lucky, until it comes to weeding, lol) enough to have a ginormous garden. It is approximately 80' x 120'. Yeah, that big. That's a lot of weeding to do. I'm not so hot in the weeding department. . . I think I need an apprentice to train in gardening, particularly in weed identification and removal.
When I had just a small garden, I think it was 20' x 20' back in the day. . .the day when DD2 was still small enough to strap into a back carrier (she'll be starting high school this fall and is as tall as I am. . .), I used to buy my tomatoes and peppers as seedlings. But with a ginormous garden, buying enough seedlings to fill it is rather expensive. And half the point of gardening is to cut costs (cuz it sure ain't the enjoyment of weeding!). So for the last handful of years, I have started my own plants from seed.
This begins, oh, usually sometime in February when I can no longer resist the urge to plant something, anything! By then I have all ready perused all the seed catalogs that appear in my mailbox as soon as Christmas is over, and ordered enough seeds to fill my garden for the coming growing season.
"Garden in a Box". My 2011 seed order, plus a few seed packets from the store.
I have several of the plastic 'greenhouse' trays that I just refill with peat pellets each year. The lids are numbered for easier recording of what is planted where. In addition to that, I put colored stickers on the outside of the tray and in a notebook to keep track of what is growing in what row in what number tray.
Tray #4, newly seeded with 4 kinds of peppers.
Having radiant floor heat makes my living room an excellent place to start seeds. I just set the trays on the (warm) floor in front of the sliding glass door. We don't use that door in the winter anyway. The heat makes the soil in the peat pellets warm up, condensation appears on the tray cover, and the seeds sprout quickly.
Once the seeds have sprouted, I take the lids off the trays to prohibit damping off, and let the seedlings grow until they have their first set of true leaves. Then I transplant them, peat pellet and all, into little peat pots. Those go into foil roaster pans (they were free, what can I say? And they last for years. . .), with tape labels on the outside of the pans to identify what variety of what vegetable is contained within.
The trays then sit in front of the sliding glass door in my living room,
and on the ledge in the study,
until the weather is right for them to be hardened off outside (usually on the covered porch--seen through the study window, then the not-covered deck--on the other side of the slider in the living room) before being planted into their designated rows in the garden.
Currently I have about 400 little tomato, pepper, eggplant, broccoli, cabbage, cauliflower, Brussels sprout, celery, basil, and parsley plants growing nicely. Also recently seeded into the trays are cucumbers, watermelon and cantaloupe. Like I said, I grow a ginormous garden. There are five of us to feed (at least until DS2 heads for college in mid-August), plus I have a booth at the local farmers' market where I sell baked goods and extra garden produce.