Growing from seed is a great way to save money and have a wide variety of plants. But it can also be a bit daunting for beginner gardeners.
If you’re a beginner, it’s best to start small and choose seeds that are easy to grow. That will give you a head start and build your confidence to try other types of seeds.
1. Pre-soak Seeds
Soaking seeds helps them to break down their outer shell and make room for water inside, so they can grow as soon as possible. It can also help seeds whose seed coats are hard or wrinkled to soak up moisture.
Some gardeners opt for a mild acid solution such as vinegar to speed up the process of softening the seed coat. This is often called scarification and can be a great option for tough-looking seeds that may be difficult to break down by just soaking.
Soaking seeds is a time-consuming technique, but it can give you a jump start on germination when it’s time to plant your garden. It’s a practice that’s worth trying out to see what works best for you and your garden.
2. Cover Seeds
Seeds are small, delicate plants that have developed over millions of years with a defense system to deal with harsh conditions in the wild. In the garden, these defenses are a little more pampered.
To help prevent seeds from drying out, cover them with a moist seed starting mix. This is typically vermiculite or milled sphagnum moss, depending on the size of the seed. The depth of covering varies, but a good rule of thumb is to cover seeds to a depth about two times their diameter.
3. Keep Seeds Moisturized
Soaking seeds prior to planting is a powerful way to jump start their germination, and shave off days or even weeks of your garden’s germination window. This helps you avoid having to wait for seed packets to come in to your garden center or nursery, and also gives you more control over when your seeds are ready to plant.
After you’ve soaked your seeds, it’s crucial to keep them moist without overwatering. Heavy-handed watering can disrupt germination, or worse, cause damping-off.
4. Keep Seedlings Well Watered
Seedlings require constant moisture in the early stages of growth. If they don’t get enough water, they will wither and die.
You can buy a variety of seedling watering devices, including water globes and sprinkler systems. You can also make your own watering system with a garden hose and a stake to insert into the soil around your plants.
Once the seeds sprout, water them from the bottom of the container to encourage the roots to soak up water. You can also use a mister or turkey baster to gently spray the soil, but you need to be careful not to overwater as this can lead to mold.
Once the seedlings sprout several sets of leaves, they should be potted up into larger containers. This is also a good time to fertilize them lightly with a water-soluble organic liquid garden fertilizer.
5. Keep Seedlings Healthy
Growing seedlings from seed tips isn’t just fun, it’s also a great way to control the quality of your plants. Buying seedlings can sometimes come with a lot of pests and chemicals, so starting your own gives you the freedom to choose what you want to grow.
Keeping your seedlings healthy is a crucial part of keeping them strong enough to survive the transition into your garden. Follow these simple tips to ensure your seeds germinate and grow into strong, healthy starts!
Keep your seedlings in a spot that receives bright light. Ideally they will receive 12 to 16 hours of sunlight daily.