It’s that time of year! Starting your seed planting now will allow you to begin gardening as soon as the weather warms up. Here are some important tips on how to seed start.
They’re just like us!
Contrary to belief, seeds don’t need the sun to germinate. They just need warm temperatures for warm soil. The average temperature it takes for most seeds to germinate is around 60°-70°F. This means you can do your seed starting indoors because they like the same temperature that’s on your thermostat. However, there are some exceptions so make sure and read your seed’s packet label. You may consider placing a warming matt underneath your seedlings for faster and more consistent germination growth.
Plants teach Patience.
It is important to be aware of the amount of time it takes for your seed to germinate. Cabbage for example, germinates in about three to four days. Celery seeds on the other hand, take around 2-3 weeks before you’ll start seeing a sprout. So do your research and in some cases, practice your patience. In general, your cool weather crops will germinate sooner than warm weather crops. This is because cool weather crops don’t need the soil as warm to poke their baby leaves or cotyledons out.
Water, Water, Water
Keep the soil moist at all times. The Seed Starting recipe down below allows for maximum amount of moisture in the mix. We are talking around 75% moisture. You should be able to roll a ball with your seed starting mix and have it remained intact. A good way to lock in moisture for your seeds is to place a plastic cover or plastic wrap over your seedlings that allow for condensation to build up and help retain water.
You Were Warned…
Get your grubby fingers out of the soil! A common mistake that people have with seed starting is that they sow the seeds too deep into the soil. As a rule of thumb, green thumb that is, a seed should be planted no more than twice it’s size deep. Using the tip of a pencil can ensure that you don’t dig too deep. Again, read your seed labels they’ll give you the correct depth.
Finally, the Seed Starting Recipe!
This mix is measured in ratios. Perhaps that means using a spade, shovel, or bucket for your proportions. (It’s as easy as 1, 2, 2, 3!)
1 Part: Soil
It is important to include soil because this is what the seeds will be living in when we transplant them outdoors. This allows for an easier transition for them.
2 Parts: Compost
This is where the majority of the nutrients for the plant comes in.
2 Parts: Sand
Our seedlings need lots of air and sand is great at aerating soil. Sand also allows for easy drainage and we want water to flow down to the roots.
3 Parts: Peat Moss
(No this is not the name of a famous gardener.) Peat Moss, also known as Sphagnum comes from the bottom of bogs. It is dead organic material particularly moss, that is formed in anaerobic conditions, or conditions with no oxygen. Peat moss holds our seed starting mix together and allows us to keep in high levels of moisture for our little guys.
Thanks for reading. And as always, happy planting!