One of the most exciting aspects of gardening is start from a seed, and slowly turning that seed into a full, healthy plant. There’s something very inspiring going from nothing to something. If you’ve only grown from seedlings before, starting from seeds may be a bit difficult. But have no fear, today we’ll look at some tips to help you grow thriving plants in your own home.
Any sort of container will do to start your seeds in. In fact, you can even go a bit smaller than a full sized plant as many gardeners choose to transplant once it has become a seedling. You can even start with a growing kit, which is likely to provide multiple small areas to plant your seeds.
The key here is to make sure your container is clean. This is especially true if you are reuse a container. Seeds and seedlings are very susceptible to pests and infections; unclean pots can easily spread this. This is most important if the pot was used outdoors, but it doesn’t hurt to give it a quick once over even if it wasn’t.
Seedlings are very delicate, so it’s important to choose the right growing medium. Using a specific seedling mix is best, but any light soil will do. The key is to not use a medium that is too thick or heavy as the weak roots will have trouble spreading out in it.
One of the most important aspects to growing seeds/seedlings is having ample light. Without enough light you’re likely to end up feeble looking plants that grow and produce poorly.
Put your plants in a large south facing window to expose them to the most light. If that’s not enough, setting up a few grow lights will work until the plants mature.
If using lights, you’ll want to keep them 3-4 inches above the plant. This means you’ll have to move them as the plants grow in order to promote proper growth. Also, this means using fluorescent bulbs is a no go as the heat at that range will damage the plant.
Keep in mind, that during the winter the sun is less intense in seasonal areas. If you’re starting seeds in the dead of winter naturally light is even less likely to be enough and you’ll have to resort to grow lights.
Before the seeds actually sprout, they will like a bit of extra warmth than a typical plant would. Many gardeners therefore place their grow containers on top of the dryer, refrigerator, or a few inches above a heating vent. You don’t want to bake them, but raising the temperature a few degrees will help encourage them to sprout.
Watering seeds is a bit different than a full grown plant. Firstly, in the seed stage you shouldn’t have to water at all. The key is to moisten the water before planting, and then cover the container with plastic to hold in the humidity. This will create an ideal environment for your plants, and the prevent water from dislodging or disrupting the plants.
One the seeds begin to sprout remove the plastic and begin watering to keep the soil moist (but not drenched). As seedlings are still very weak a good technique is to water from the bottom. The soil will actually wick up the water, and if done correctly will provide enough for your plant to grow. This once again prevents any damage that might occur from watering weak plants.
Read The Packet
Lastly, make sure to read the packet before sowing your seeds. Generally, the packet will have care information on the back that includes seeding and growing instructions. This includes things like how deep you should place the seed, and how far apart seeds should be placed. These factors are very important to growing healthy seedlings so take a few minutes to read over it before planting.
Some packets might also have information on growing instructions after it’s sprouted or suggestions on when to transplant or harvest. If you’re no familiar with the plan you’re growing it’s a good idea to keep these tips on hand to help speed along healthy growth.