Posted on

growing for seeds

Here are the basics in 10 steps.

9. Circulate the air.
Circulating air helps prevents disease and encourages the development of strong stems. Run a gentle fan near seedlings to create air movement. Keep the fan a distance away from the seedlings to avoid blasting them directly.

Related Products

5. Maintain consistent moisture.
Prior to germination, cover your container to help trap moisture inside. Seed-starting kits typically come with a plastic cover. You can also use a plastic bag, but it should be supported so it doesn’t lay flat on the soil. Remove covers as soon as seeds sprout. Once seedlings are growing, reduce watering so soil partially drys, but don’t let them wilt.

3. Plant at the proper depth.
You’ll find the proper planting depth on the seed packet. The general rule of thumb is to cover seeds with soil equal to three times their thickness – but be sure to read the seed packet planting instructions carefully. Some seeds, including certain lettuces and snapdragons, need light to germinate and should rest on the soil surface but still be in good contact with moist soil. Gentle tamping after sowing will help. After planting your seeds, use a spray bottle to wet the soil again.

6. Keep soil warm.
Seeds need warm soil to germinate. They germinate slower, or not at all, in soils that are too cool. Most seeds will germinate at around 78°F. Waterproof heating mats, designed specifically for germinating seeds, keep soil at a constant temperature. You can buy them in most nurseries and garden centers. Or, you can place seed trays on top of a refrigerator or other warm appliance until seeds sprout. After germination, air temperature should be slightly below 70°F. Seedlings can withstand air temperature as low as 50°F as long as soil temperature remains 65-70°F.

When sowing seeds, begin modestly if you are a beginner. If you sow more seeds than you can reasonably maintain, it will become challenging to nurture the seedlings into adulthood. Depending on the type of plant you want to grow, you might be able to direct-sow seeds in outdoor containers or in the ground when outdoor temperatures warm up.

Suspend the lights from chains so that you can raise the lights higher as the seedlings grow. Keep the lights as close to the seedlings as possible without touching them (2 to 3 inches). When seedlings first appear, keep the lights turned on for 12 to 16 hours per day. To reduce your hands-on time, use a timer to turn the lights on and off automatically.

Many plants do not tolerate cold temperatures, and exposing them to chilly air or cold soil will stress them out. Chas Gill, who runs the Kennebec Flower Farm, agrees that one of the biggest mistakes people make when starting seeds is starting the seeds too early. Stressed-out plants are more susceptible to pests and disease. Most plants are ready to go outside four to six weeks after you start the seeds.

Sowing Too Many Seeds

It is quite economical to start seeds indoors, especially when the seedlings grow into robust plants. However, growing seeds indoors can be challenging. To significantly increase your chances of success, avoid these common seed-starting mistakes.

For seeds that need light to germinate, make sure the seeds are in contact with the seed starting medium but are not covered. To do this, gently press the soil medium to create a firm surface. Then, place the seed on top of the medium and gently press down, making sure the seed is still exposed.

For seeds to germinate, most must be kept warm: about 65 to 75 degrees Fahrenheit. A favorite place to keep seeds warm in order to germinate is on top of the refrigerator. Or, you can purchase seed-warming mats to place under the seed trays. Once a seedling emerges, they can tolerate fluctuating temperatures (within reason). Whatever type of light you use, natural or artificial, make sure it produces enough heat to keep the plants in the 65- to 75-degree range.

To increase your chances of getting it right, here are a few things you can do:

Normally, you should plant your seeds between 4-6 weeks prior to moving them outside, however, species do vary. Also, you may be required to plant your seeds indoors earlier than predicted or indeed later, all dependant on the weather at the time.

One of the great perks of growing your own plants and vegetables from seed is the fact that you’ll have so many choices to choose from – and you’ll be able to find the perfect seeds to suit you and your garden online or at your local garden centre. Remember to take note of your environment and pick seeds wisely, keeping in mind the environment you have on offer. You will need to pay particular attention to the requirements of the seed –lookout for water requirements, soil temperature, nutritional requirements, and desirable lighting for each species you consider.

You will need a container that is two to three inches deep and features holes at the bottom, for drainage purposes. The width of the container can vary – it all depends on how many seeds you wish to plant. However, remember to ensure you leave enough room for the seeds to germinate. You can buy trays from your local garden centre or online, or you can even use an egg carton. Now that you have your container ready, you will need to line your seeds with your growing medium. Do not fill your container right to the top with this combination, instead leave approximately half an inch at the top. Lightly wet with water to provide a good environment for the seeds to grow in. However, do note that soil-less mixture contains zero nutritional value so it may be a good idea to use seed and cutting compost.

5) Time It Right

A seed is defined in the dictionary as being ‘the unit of reproduction of a flowering plant, capable of developing into another such plant. We recently spoke about how plant cells grow and how to sow seeds indoors , so we thought we would expand on that a little bit.

Some seeds may require soaking before you plant them, whereas others do not. Make sure to check all the information on the packet as previously mentioned. If your seeds do require soaking, you will need to do so for several hours before adding to your growing medium.

We suggest covering your container lightly with plastic sheeting/damp newspaper. This will act as a way to regulate and trap moisture and temperature. This is important as if your seeds dry out they will not germinate properly.

Garden soil can contain high levels of disease and insects that can cause harm to your seeds. Therefore, it is the safer option in most cases to start your seeds off indoors in ‘seed and cutting’ compost. Obviously, these conditions will vary from plant to plant, so make sure you check thoroughly before beginning the process.