Updated: Dec 29, 2021
Seed starting is an exciting process for gardeners. It allows you to grow your plants from seed, which can be a great way to save your money and your time in the long run. However, not all seed starts are successful. To avoid common mistakes with seed starting and increase your chances of success, read on!
How do I start seeds indoors?
The bean filter or baggie method allows you to easily start seeds in a limited space. Legumes and beets that resemble squash are good uses as well as others with thick-shelled seeds. Soaking seeds i.e. before the seeds are sown may improve germinating chances significantly. When is old age right? Check whether to keep the seed collection or discard them. Make those cracked eggshells, re-use an eggs carton and preserve these indoor gardening projects for a rainy day. Adding seeds in eggshells is a fun and easy project that children will love to take on board.
Seed starting 101
The secret to a healthy plant world started with an isolated seed. Start gardening at the start with fresh seeds set the ground to be the basis for the rest of the year's growths. Organic grounds benefit the earth as much as its lucky neighbors. How you handle the seeds will affect both plants that grow & produce fruits that are mature. It's a resting garden.
How do I sow seeds indoors?
Incorporating seeds gives you a bigger selection of varieties and an extra boost to the growing season for gardening. Even if you start seed inside it can be overwhelming. This article covers everything you have to know to start seeds in an indoor environment.
Indoor seed starting
Growing seeds indoors allows for a start-up which leads to earlier crop harvests and higher yields. Starting a seed is not complex as you know the method. Different plants have different needs so always refer to the directions on the label for how to plant. Even many perennials receive a good start indoors but some can be sown directly in the garden. Start a few dozen plants in three-four varieties if you're just trying to learn how the system works.
Tell me the secret to healthy plants?
Give seedling plenty of sun every day (at least 12 to 16 hours is optimal for most vegetable seedlings) to avoid the "leggy look.
Dampen the soil every day to maintain a nice, moist environment. Decide on your seed-starting medium: A mixture of peat moss and perlite is inexpensive and drains well. Mix one part of good potting soil with two parts screened compost and one part vermiculite or sand for more moisture retention. If you want to feed the plants as they grow, add bone meal (or other organic fertilizer).
Choose seeds that are appropriate for your area's climate. Some common vegetable varieties include zucchini squash, tomatoes, peppers, lettuces, beets...The list goes on!
If planting in pots use containers at least four inches deep so there is room for roots to spread out when it comes time to transplant.
If planting in flats, be sure the pots are at least one inch deep so that roots don't become pot-bound.
Sprinkle a thin layer of soil over your seeds; try not to cover them completely when sowing and keep damp for best results.
Some seedlings might benefit from starting off under grow lights if it's a particularly cold or dark time of year outside (or you have an indoor space available).
When to sow seeds
Different types of vegetables have optimal seed start dates for transplants at different times during the year. It depends on where you are living. It helps some veggies to sow directly into an outside vegetable garden when the time is right. This is true for things like carrots and beans.
The optimal germination temperature is in soils that are between 68 and 80 degrees Fahrenheit for nearly all things. Some plants like lettuce like cooler soil for germination. Some seeds can germinate in the 60s and 50s although slow and less successful. If the heat in your house is below 80 °F and you don't have the necessary heater, get a warm spot for seeds. Do not cook seed over 95oF! It sterilizes and kills. I employ a heating mat for seedlings in combination with a temperature control unit to maintain a consistently ideal temperature for germinating seeds.
You'll want something you can mark the containers of your seeds with. There are a lot of options for labeling, like gluing plastic with forks to creating a stencil on a rock. On a knife used in pencil, the writing continues throughout the season and never fades in the sun. Once you have twice used them, you can use an alcohol-based eraser and wash it back with rubbing alcohol to keep re-using them for years.
Keep it simple
With the right light and simple equipment is easy to grow from seed to harvesting. A plant has different requirements - seeds or seeds. It can help to start small to only grow a few varieties. Some seeds – like tomato or marigold are easy to set up indoors. Take these seeds first and then add the more dense seeds. Other good alternatives for beginners include basil, zinnia, coleus, nasturtium, and cosmos.
Start your seeds this spring and revel in your gardening magic
Seed starting early in the season is a great way to save money on annual flowers, herbs, and vegetables to blossom or grow fruit in the first year. More advanced propagating could also start perennials from seed in many cases, but the process is much harder and much more laborious as long-term perennial crops can take many months or even years. You can start seeds almost anywhere you find on the house that will create a mini garden, or you can buy all kinds of interesting arrangements according to your needs. Using household items as seeds containers is an inexpensive way to start seeds.
A light source
Almost always, sunlight in your lightest window is not enough for your seedlings to stay happy. Particularly true when you start seeds indoors in winter short days. You would obviously want artificial light in this particular circumstance.
Seedling Starting Pots & Trays
The containers should be covered when seedling seeds sprout. The lid helps retaining warmth and moisture assisting germination. You can start seedlings on a windowsill or in an indoor greenhouse. You will need to provide sufficient light, warmth, and humidity for the plants which are not fully developed yet.
The seedling potting mix should be moist and lightweight. It is important to keep the soil from drying out before it can grow roots because if the plant does not have a good root system when transplanted outdoors, it will dry up quickly.
Depending on what kind of seedlings you are planting in pots or trays, there are different ways to ensure that watering them adequately during their first weeks until they develop strong roots. The most common methods include: - Layering a sheet of plastic over the top of your container with holes punched into it for air circulation.
Why do we start from seeds?
When preparing a garden plan the main question you will need to determine is whether they will be started by seed or young. Every option possesses its advantages/disadvantages. It is sure to be easier to buy seedlings but you can only grow the type of flowers and vegetables you might find. For absolute beginners, it's not a bad idea to just start with buying your first transplant because there's no need to stress about stuff like timing for growing and care of young seedlings.
Age of Seed & Germination Test
Germination testing is a simple way to calculate the viability of a seed group. Some plants can last for 10 or more years. You will only find out if you start the germ. If you'd like to gauge the general viability of the lots, select 10 to 20 seeds, then place them on a paper towel that is damp. Place a towel in a re-sealable plastic bag to retain moisture. In days start checking for sprouting signs. When you've left enough time in the seeds to germinate, check the number of seeds that started to germinate. If one germinated then the germination rate will be five percent. Here is the equation to figure out the percentage( number of germinated seeds divided by the total number of seeds).
With bottom watering, cell packs are then kept in water in a water-containing vessel. In the root. This is particularly useful if you're going on holiday. If you don't water the seeds as you like. Avoid overwatering as you may lose oxygen and the oxygen in the water. There is a perfect balance between giving your plants a little water but slowly drying the water away and giving your plants a break up between watering sessions. Take precautions if you travel more than 1 day. However, be careful don't overwater your plant.
Thin the plants so that the strongest survive
For it to grow vigorous and healthy there must be at most one seedling within each container. It involves the selection of the strongest plant and removal of the extra. The easiest way to accomplish that is cutting up unwanted seedlings by slicing them off the soil line as close to the soil as possible. You can also transplant the extras into separate pots but you risk damaging roots and slowing the growth.
Moving Seedlings Outside (aka “Hardening Off”)
When you have grown your seeds indoors you have to take steps to adjust to their new outdoor home. The gardener knows about this as hardening off. This prepares seedlings for the difficult times of the outside world. Hardening off should take at least one week and it can take until two. Also, you could place seedlings in cold frames and gradually adjust the volume of ventilation to open each day wider vents. Take them off entirely before dark.
Get the timing right
The goal of beginning seedings is getting these seeds ready to leave when the weather permits. Some varieties of vegetables are better prepared outdoors such as beans and squash. There is little advantage in growing them in-house for they germinate easily and grow at a fast pace.
You can check the seeds packets to see what depth to grow your seeds. If two seeds germinate at a time, I slice one of them and let the other grow. Cover pots with a sheet of plastic wrap or a dome placed over a seed tray. Notice signs of green remove the cover immediately. Keep them moist.
How to Start Seeds
Best Way to germinate seeds indoors
I have found a fantastic way to start seeds. Germinate your seeds in half the time with higher germination rates.
I have herb seeds that have given me many germination frustrations. One of the most important herbs seems to be the hardest for me to germinate. Of course, that would be the case. The one you want the most is the hardest to grow.
My seed-starting experiences have left me frustrated. I have tried many different techniques that always lead me to disappointment.
I've tried everything from the plastic bag and paper towel method to the regular seed starting trays with the correct soil, so I've searched the internet looking for the best technique to germinate my seeds. Some of the methods work but still leave me unsatisfied and wanting more.
I came across soil blocks throughout my searches and decided to try this route. I made my soil blocks and placed them into a plastic container with a lid to hold the moisture for better germination. Now, I'm waiting impatiently to see how well this will work.
To my surprise, I opened the lid on the second day and saw that one had already germinated. I looked more intently and noticed that my special herb seeds had also already started the germination process. Within two days, 38.8 % had grown roots! I can barely contain my excitement! I suggest using a clear plastic container for the seed starting process. If you are a busy person your plants will get leggy if you don't stay on top of it.
I'll use soil block making for my future of seed starting. I also want to add that you should use your most current seeds for the best germination results.
Your seedlings will love you for grabbing a soil block maker, they'll be happy thriving seedlings!
How to Start Vegetables indoors
Process of Soil Block Making
The ingredients I use are coco coir, compost, and sand. I Mix equal amounts of compost and coco coir. Add half the amount with sand. You can substitute sand with perlite or vermiculite. I also added some azomite.
After mixing the ingredients, wet the mix down until you can take a handful and squeeze it with a bit of water dripping out. If the mixture is not correct, you'll have trouble with them holding together.
Pile the soil up, and then press the block maker down to the bottom of the tray in the compost mix to be sure you have filled the block maker. When I hit the bottom of the tray, I twist back and forth, so that excess soil is knocked off and even with the bottom of the block maker.
Place your soil block maker in the tray you are using to germinate your seeds and squeeze the spring-loaded handle and the block maker's base together and pull up. Now you should have some lovely soil blocks to plant your seeds.
Plant your seeds into the indent on the top of the soil blocks.
Water, then add the lid. I water with a gentle sprayer, so I don't destroy the soil blocks.
Place the tray on a heating pad.
Now excitedly wait! It shouldn't take too long to see excellent results!
Pros and Cons of Soil Blocks
Air pruning Time consuming to make them
much less transplant shock The soil block maker is pricy
won't be rootbound
quick and healthy growth
no flimsy plastic trays
My Photo Journey of Soil Blocks
Here are the ingredients for the soil blocks.
One of the soil blocks fell apart, so I rolled it into a ball and planted it that way. I'm eager to see what happens with that one.
Here I have planted all the seeds, water them, and placed the lid on top.
Place the container onto heating pads.
After the first day, I had already had one cucumber start the germination process and 3 of my herb seeds.
At the end of the second day, many seeds have germinated.
I'll skip some days while updating
Update of growth on day 4. I have transferred some of the seeds to a clear plastic container to place in the sunlight.
In the lower picture, there are only a few that haven't started to germinate.
You can avoid the hassle of seed starting with soil block making. With this method, you'll be able to create blocks that are ready for planting in just a few minutes and start growing your own healthy garden indoors or out! If you're interested in trying it yourself, I've included some tips on what materials to use and how to mix them together into perfect little soil blocks. We hope this has helped get you started thinking about how easy it is to grow your own vegetables right from home. Let me know if you need more information on other gardening topics like fertilizers, watering techniques, or pest control methods!