If you’re not a pro gardener, seed starting can be intimidating. But, don’t worry, there are many seed starting tips and tricks that can help you succeed.
One of the most important seed starting tips is to use quality seeds. This will increase your germination rates and result in stronger seedlings.
1. Know Your Seeds
Before you begin seed starting, make sure you know your seeds and their potential for success. This includes what variety you’re planting and whether it’s best to start them indoors before transplanting outside.
You should also label your sowings, especially for different varieties of the same plant. That way, you won’t accidentally misplace them.
Once your seeds germinate, they’ll need to be watered properly. If you have a self-watering seed starter kit, check the reservoir daily for adequate moisture.
Next, make sure the seedlings are getting plenty of oxygen from air flow, which helps their stems and roots grow deep and strong. You can use a fan or a grow light to mimic the natural airflow seedlings need.
Finally, don’t over-water your seeds — this can cause their leaves to yellow and stunt their growth. Keep them evenly moist and avoid too much shock to the plant by avoiding harsh water sprays.
2. Know Your Soil
Having the right soil for seed starting is essential to the success of your planting. Knowing your soil’s composition can help you choose the plants that are best suited for your garden and also determine whether or not you need to make amendments to improve its health.
Soil tests can be performed at home using a handful of moist soil and a few simple techniques. There are many different soil types, including chalky, clay, loamy, peaty, sandy, and silty.
To test your soil’s texture, take a small handful of moist soil and roll it between your hands. If it feels gritty, you have a mixture of sand and clay. If it feels slick, you have a combination of sand and silt.
3. Know Your Temperature
The optimum temperature for seed germination will vary depending on the crop and a good idea is to check your seed packet. In general a soil temperature of around 80 degrees will allow most seeds to germinate.
A good way to measure your soil temperature is with a cheap soil thermometer. Stick this to a depth of no more than twice the diameter of the seed and wait a few minutes for the reading to be taken.
It’s important to remember that soil temperatures can vary throughout the year, especially outdoors. Even after your last frost date, the soil can stay colder than you think it should be and this will slow down germination.
It’s also important to remember that your body temperature can change quite frequently based on age, activity and your environment. Taking your temperature will help you monitor your health and may give you an early warning of something that is developing in your system.
4. Know Your Time
The right time and place to start your seeds will pay dividends in the form of tasty harvests and a sense of pride in your gardening accomplishments. The best time to start your seeds is a tad earlier than your last frost date, which in the US usually equates to April or May for those of you who live south of the border. This is also a great time to check your soil quality and make sure you have the proper plant spacing to keep things neat and tidy. For the best results, consider a combination of all-natural and organic seed blends. This will result in a higher crop yield for your hard earned dollars! You’ll be rewarded with a bumper crop that will sustain your family well into the next season.