Are you a beginner gardener? If the answer is “YES”, then you might need to read some tips for avoiding the most common mistakes when starting seeds, and get more fun while raising seeds. 🙂
(1). Why We Need Starting Plants From Seeds:
Why do you need to grow plants from seeds when you can buy plants in a local garden nursery? There are a few of benefits to indoor seed starting, including: variety, timing, availability and so on. Starting with seeds allows us to have more choices, have the opportunity to try rare or unusual seeds, save money, and increase the fun of gardening.
(2). Choose the Right Seeds for Your Garden:
Before you start planting your garden, the first thing you need to decide is which type of seeds you want plant. When you decide what plants to plant (vegetables, flowers, herbs), and after you find the seeds, you need to read the seed instructions carefully.
Below has a VIDEO tutorial and a detailed article “How to Choose the Best Seeds for Your Garden” from Empress Of Dirt that might help you.
(3). Starting Seeds at the Right Time:
Check your seed packet for the optimum time to plant. It is necessary to consider your climate zone.
Ideally, to maximise success, use a moon calendar for optimum timing.
How to Find Your Frost Dates and Hardiness Zone:
Frost Dates Calculator at Almanac.com.
Enter your city and state or province to find your first and last frost dates and number of frost-free days.
Check your seed packet for the optimum time to plant. Plant hardiness zones can be found on seed packets.
(4). Step-by-Step Tips for Seed Starting:
ONCE YOU HAVE PREPARED THE SEEDS, YOU WILL BEGIN TO PREPARE THE SUPPLIES.
1. First you will need to check the use of seeds by date.
2. You need to prepare cleaned and sanitized seed trays, pots, containers.
How To Clean Them:
I wash mine in a tub of mild dish soap, rinse thoroughly, and then soak in a solution of 1-part bleach and 9-parts water for two minutes. Rinse thoroughly and allow to dry before use.
Instead Of Buying Them From Store, You Can Also DIY Pots and Seed Trays:
1). DIY Pots for Starting Seeds:
#1. Repurpose Plastic Container as Mini Greenhouses to Start Seeds:
#2. Make Newspaper Seed-Starter Pots:
Check out the full tutorial here: learningandyearning.com
#3. Convert K-Cups Into Starter Pots for Spring Planting:
#4. Use Toilet Paper Rolls to Start Your Plants:
See the full instructions here: ourwabisabilife.com
#5. Repurposed Loofah Sponge Seed Starter:
Check out the tutorial here: thymesquaregarden.blogspot.com
#6. Put the Entire Egg Carton into the Ground When Seeds Have Sprouted:
#7. Make an Old Ice Cube Tray Seed Starter:
Get the tutorial here: mrbrownthumb.blogspot.com
#8. Recycle Your Worn-out Paper to Make Paper Pulp for Making DIY Seed Starters:
See the instructions here: 365daysofdiy.blogspot.com
#9. Sow in Gallon Bags Instead of Jugs:
Check out the more details at: wintersown.org
#10. Milk Jug as Seed Starting Container:
2). Seed Trays and Soil Blocks:
#1. Use a Soil Blocker to Make Nifty Little Soil Containers for Your Seeds:
Buy the Soil Blocker Tool at Amazon.
#2. Cut the Piece of PVC Pipe Into Size, Then Screw the Wood Plug Onto the Dowel to Make a Soil Block Maker:
Check out the tutorial: theprairiehomestead.com
#3. Recycle Plastic Container to Make Soil Blocks with a Mold:
Get the great instructions here: instructables.com
#4. Baking Tins for Square Foot Gardening Templates:
#5. Make a Seed Starting Tray from Cardboard and Coffee Filters:
See the full tutorial at: instructables.com
Or You Can Use Cut Down Inserts from Wine Cases as Dividers in Seed Trays:
Check out the more details at: blogcrumbs.blogspot.com
#6. Create Reusable Wood Flats for Seedlings:
Get the more details here: motherearthnews.com
3. Make Tags and Labels.
This helps track what you are planting (seed name, date, number of days required for germination, days of maturity). If you are planting seeds in pots(or other DIY containers), you can use masking tape and a Sharpie, or other easy to get plant labels, such as “19 Cute and No-money Ideas to Label the Garden Plants“.
In addition, if you are planting in a seed tray, such as use soil blocks in a grid system, then it can be easily marked, just like cells in a spreadsheet.
4. Seed Starting Mix.
Whether sowing in a tray or in pots, the premise is that you have to be ready “Seed Starting Mix“. They are perfect for seed sowing and help to create a clean seeding environment free of pathogens. If you want to buy them from the store, my advice is to buy organic products without additives (eg synthetic water granules or synthetic fertilizers). Garden soil is NOT recommended. It compacts easily and may harbour diseases. You can also make your own seed sowing mixture according to some amazing recipes shared by people.
Homemade Seed Sowing Mix Recipe:
Coco coir (from the husks of coconuts); Vermiculite (help to retain water); Perlite (prevent soil from compacting); Fine chicken grit; Coarse sand; Compost(such as leaf mold or other soil) need to be sterilized in a microwave roasting bag for 10 minutes(82 °C).
Check out “5 Recipes for Blending Your Own Soil Mixes“.
The next step is to mix the seed start mixture with water. The standard for successful mixing is that:
After squeezing in the hand, the mixture should be kept together and no water dripping out. If there is water droplets, it means too much water. If it crumbles, it means you should continue to add water to it.
If raising seeds indoors, natural light or fluorescence is the best choice. Some seeds need to germinate in darknes, so you need to check seed packet for specific instructions.
DIY PVC Pipe Grow Light for Seed Starting:
See the full instructions here: vegetablegardener.com
6. Add Heat Mat or Create Greenhouse.
Put your seed container on top of a hot water heater or use a heat mat underneath to increase the soil temperature.
DIY Heat Mat Speeds Seed Starting:
Get the full tutorial here: vegetablegardener.com
If you are starting seeds outdoors, you can keep them warm by setting up a greenhouse, or cover them with plastic bags or films. Check out 17 Simple Budget-Friendly Plans to Build a Greenhouse
7. No moisture = No Germination.
Use a spray bottle to finely mist water over the seeds. Or add your container/tray to a shallow water bath with warm water. Make sure the soil environment is not too dry or too wet. You can consider a Moisture Meter that is a very helpful tool.
(5). Transplanting Outdoors:
If you’ve started seeds indoors, you will need to ‘harden them off’ for a week or two(During this time you can start preparing your garden bed.) before transplanting outdoors.
(6). The Last:
Remember to keep everything watered, and watch for any weather extremes. Plant babies need love and attention. Let’s start sowing!