By Joey and Holly Baird Special to Published Jan 17, 2015 at 12:16 PM

When we garden, we want to do the least amount of work and get the most out of it. There is nothing wrong with this, but getting off on the right foot means everything then. But how can we do this? Here are a few tips that can be followed that can greatly enhance your success rate in your garden and grow room.

So let’s get started, above all things, cleanliness is the number one rule in our book. Why and what are we keeping clean? Your grow room, your planting area, your tools, your hands and the cups and trays you are planting in. 

You may ask why, but here are just some of the reasons why a grow room should be much like an ER. Not to make it just like one, but just like in an ER, a grow room can harbor diseases from the table top you are planting on to the tools and the trays you are using. Keeping it clean is a must. There is nothing wrong with reusing old trays or old solo cups, but by reusing them year after year, you can introduce old diseases that could still be on them from the past year or if they are given them to you from friends and family.

Cleaning them is simple. Some people will say use bleach and water, and that is fine if you want to clean them that way. We clean them with hot soapy water and scrub them – all containers we are starting seeds in, whether old and even new. You never know what hands have been touching those trays in the store or at the factory.

Other key elements to getting off on the right foot are seeds, soil and water. Good organic/heirloom seeds are a must. Dollarseed is a seed company that we have worked with going on three years with amazing results, and each pack of seeds are really only a dollar a pack.

For soil, I know we have all gone to the store and saw a great deal on some potting soil but it ends up being some no name brand that turns out to just like planting in sand you could have got from the beach for free or a name brand like Miracle-Gro that is owned by the Scotts Company which is associated with Monsanto, the largest producer of GMO crops in the world. When buying soil, know where your money is going and what it is supporting.

We have started this year using compost, potting mixes. Why are they better than other mixes? Their mixes are all plant based. There's no worry about GMO fed manure that is being composted.

Then there's watering but not just with water: clean and safe water. Municipal water is filled with chemicals, toxins and heavy metals that kill the microbes in your soil, which is the life of your soil which allows your plants to live. We are using Body Mind and Soil water filters to water our gardens and seedlings to prevent the death of those important microbes.

Lastly – and this is not a must, but it is a major help to seed starting – is presoaking your seeds large and small. You can soak them in water, but we use "moopoo" tea from Manure Tea. By soaking the seeds for a few hours before planting, it increases the germination rate by days to sometimes weeks. How can this be you ask? Simple: Moopoo tea comes from cattle and horses that are on a closed loop farm, meaning they are not feed any GMO crops. They are grass feed and not given any antibiotics or growth hormones.

Thanks to the great steps and tips, we have the best looking starts and seedlings that we have ever had.

For more information, please visit The Wisconsin Vegetable Gardener's website