Seed starting Made Simple: Tips and Tricks for your most successful season yet

Here are some simple tricks and tips for seed starting….

Timing is important when planning your garden.

In order to start your seeds properly you need to recognize your Plant hardiness zone. This helps when you are able to bring your seedlings outside. You don’t want to have your seedlings spend to much time inside. Generally, to much time inside will lead to leggy (long and spindly) seedlings. This is not the end of the world, but you are spending your time and money. Let’s get the most out of it.

Here is a Handy Planting chart from our friends at High Mowing

When to start your seedlings:

Different plants have maturing times which differ from types of plants and even varieties.  For instance lettuce matures quicker than tomatoes. This means you should stagger your plantings to accommodate different growing periods. Your local garden center will be able to assist further. I don’t recommend box stores for lots of reasons, but your local small garden shop has more knowledge and is happy to help. Box stores, not so much.

What to use; Seeds and Containers?

Peat pots, seed starting pods, egg cartons, even cups work. We do recommend to use something that you can easily move around. This is in case you need more light or humidity for your seedlings.

Heirloom seeds vs: Conventional Seeds

Throughout the years many growers have been trying to “improve” veggies. They try to get longer shelf life, and nicer looking produce. They try to make them uniform size and color.  This is only to help grocery stores. This method, over the years has let to produce that does not have the taste and in some cases nutritional value of vegetables in years past.  For this reason we recommend heirloom varieties to add to your home garden. You don’t need to worry about shelf life. Once those veggies are ready

Is Organic really necessary?

There are lots of reasons for organic, especially for the foods we eat. This protects us from nasty fertilizers and chemicals we don’t need. Some people have asked me “Does it really matter for little tiny seeds” Well my opinion is this. Organic seeds are as much about the soil being protected than the seeds themselves. Remember, these seeds are harvested from mature plants. The less chemicals we pump into the soil, the more healthy the soil. And really, next to water, soil is one of the most important thing to protect. We are proud to work with a great company called High Mowing Seed Company.

Heat and Light:

When first planting seeds, heat is the most important factor in success. Seeds need absolutely NO light when starting UNTIL they sprout. Once they sprout, both heat and light are very important. 75-85 degrees is the sweet spot for seedlings. Once the seeds sprout, get them the most light you can for them. If you can’t find enough natural light, consider artificial lighting. Stop by and we can explain more about lighting.

Thinning out the seedlings:

When planting, we always add a few extra seeds to our pots. Once they actually sprout and get to 1-2 inches it’s important to remove weaker seedlings from the pot. Plants will take light,nutrients and water from each other. So for the best seedlings, 1 plants per pot.

Watering / Fertilizer?:

Seeds need little water during the sprouting stage. Light spraying a few times a day is much better than deep watering once a day. Try to not let the seeds dry out. In a perfect word, your seedlings would be in a bright, humid environment. Do your best to provide that. Now fertilizers are not required. Seeds have everything they need in that little shell. I do believe in a little liquid starter fertilizer once or twice before they go out in the yard. Starter fertilizer helps the roots grow stronger, and really the most important part of any plant is the root system.

 

Tips:

  • Bring out during bright and warm days
    • Start with a few hours a day and gradually increase until they can be outside all day. You don’t want them to burn up in sun.
    • South facing wall gives protection.
    • Look for protected areas in your yard
  • If your seedlings seem long and lanky, they need more light
  • Do not let tender seedlings dry out

 

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