How do you start your seeds?
There are many different ways and mediums to getting your seeds started, don’t let it get complicated!
How deep you plant your seeds depends on their size, seeds only need enough soil to cover them and supply moisture for germination.
Start off with a good fertile seed stater mixture or potting soil – you can purchase this from any nursery. There are many different blends of seed starting mixtures, find one that suites your budget, or make your own. Make sure your plastic pots have been sterilized prior to use if you are recycling pots from last year this reduces the risk of ‘damping off’ of young seedlings. Clean containers reduce bacteria, molds, fungus and other potentially hostile organisms from developing and harming the germinating seed.
Read the package on your seeds carefully they may require special care, such as soaking or stratification You’ll need containers that have drainage holes, and a tray or something to catch excess water. Old plastic plant six-packs or 4-in. containers, Styrofoam cups and peat pellets all work well. You can use egg shells, newspaper cups, paper towel rolls and more, saran or plastic wrap for the tops to hold the moisture in. You can also purchase basic seed starting kits or more advanced kits which include a heat mat. Keeping your seeds at warm moist temperature is important, never let them dry out or get waterlogged. The top of the refrigerator is a great place or a sunny window if you are not using lights and a heat mat.
Once your seedlings have developed their first ‘true leaves’ which are the leaves which can be identified as the plant and not the seedling starter leaves, they can start to be prepared for planting in the garden. Always give young seedlings a few days of outdoor exposure and return them to the indoors at night before planting them out into the garden. This gives them the opportunity to adjust to the new conditions of the outdoors before they are transplanted. After the plants are hardened off, plant them into the garden during cool morning hours on an overcast day for best results. Hot sunny weather can be too hard on transplants on the first day.
Don’t forget to label your seedlings!
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