– saving money!
– getting an early start on the growing season
– choosing from a large selection of seeds
Choosing the Right Containers:
Seeds can be started in almost any type of container as long as it is at least 2-3” deep with drainage holes.
– wide, shallow containers prevent both overcrowding of seedlings and excessive moisture around fragile, young roots.
– containers must be clean or sterile.
– jiffy pellets and kits with individual growing cells. – plantable pot made of coca husks (These degradable pots are environmentally friendly and 100% peat free)
The Best Growing Medium:
Seeds should be started in a soilless growing mix, not in a garden soil.
– a good growing mix for seedlings is a moist spongy blend of sphagnum moss, vermiculite and perlite.
– or an earth friendly growing medium such as coconut fibre
Choosing Your Seeds:
Purchase high quality seeds packed for the current year. Older seeds have reduced germination rates.
– most seeds should be started four to eight weeks prior to planting outdoors
– as seeds are planted, write it down! Write them on a label for each individual pot or a garden log providing a quick reminder for seeding for next year.
Seeds to start now Indoors: tomatoes, peppers, leeks, eggplant, chrysanthemums, cosmos, hollyhocks, snapdragons
Seeds to start Outdoors (whenever your soil warms up and is workable): carrots, lettuce, spinach, radishes, peas, beets, swiss chard, kale
Planting and Caring for your Seedlings:
- Prior to planting the growing mixture should be thoroughly moistened with warm water.
- Fill the containers to within 1/2’’ of the top, pack gently and fill again.
- Check seed packages for special germination conditions such as soaking seeds.
- Seeds to be planted to the depth as outlined on the package. Plant 1-2 seeds per each individual growing cell. Most seeds should be covered with a fine layer of soil.
- Gently moisten medium to ensure good contact between seeds and soil.
- Cover with a clear dome.
Temperature: an important trigger to seeds.
– nature causes each seed type to germinate at a certain temperature. Refer to the seed packets for the exact soil temperatures.
Lighting: critical factor when starting seeds indoors. Most seeds don’t require light to germinate. When they sprout put them into a south facing window. If one is not available, use specific grow lights.
Moisture: Seeds must be kept moist after planting. However, allow the seedlings to dry out slightly before watering.
– when seeds have sprouted, remove any plastic covering to reduce moisture and humidity levels
– Feed seedlings with a weak liquid fish emulsion fertilizer (5-1-1) solution three weeks after germination and continue weekly feedings until they are transplanted into the garden.
Transplanting: Before planting seedlings in the garden, they need to be hardened off.
– gradually at least one week before planting, place seedlings on a sheltered porch or under a tree for a couple of hours each day
– protect them from too much wind or hot sun.
– this process prepares the plants for harsher outdoor conditions and ensures better survival rates in the garden.