This year has been my best yet for starting seeds. I love that from a single cheap packet of seeds, I can make so many seedlings for my garden. I love nurturing them up from an inert little grain, into something lush and large. I love growing our food from seed and enjoying the full life cycle of the plant.
So I figured I should share the many mistakes I’ve made in years past (and this year too) – so you don’t have to make them!
Don’t Start Your Seeds Too Early
This year I started my seeds with a target date to begin hardening off on the last average frost date. We were still getting frosts and plenty of cold, wet weather after that date. Next year, I’m going to add 2-4 weeks to that date, especially for more cold-sensitive plants like tomatoes, peppers, and zinnias.
Don’t Use Potting Soil to Start Seeds
Use coconut coir or seed starting mix to ensure minimal nutrition and encourage long, strong roots (that grow seeking better soil).
Don’t Forget to Read the Packet
The packet is a wealth of information on how and when you should plant your seeds. If you have any questions at all, get on Google and seek out additional info. I love checking Gardener’s World and The Spruce for more details if I’m uncertain, or taking a peek into some my favorite gardening books.
Don’t Sow Too Many Seeds
Sow 1-3 seeds per seed cell. Overcrowding will just lead to a mess when you try to thin out the seedlings.
Don’t Water from the Top Or Damage Seedlings with Cold Water
Use a system that allows for bottom watering and use room temp or slightly warm water. I use a Burpee system, for seed starting that allows for bottom watering, reusing the same trays for three years now.
Don’t Water Too Much or Too Little
Use a continuous moisture system – again bottom watering is best.
Don’t Forget to Thin Seedlings
Thin the seedlings early down to one per cell, or two per bio-pot (or according to packet instructions).
Don’t Allow Seedlings to Outgrow Seed Cells
Pot on into larger containers using a high-quality potting mix – once they get to a larger size, they are ready to get soil nutrition that the seed starting mix lacks.
Don’t Harden off Too Fast, Too Early, or Not at All
Wait for warm days, and start the hardening process in the shade, then part shade, then sun over the course of a week or two.
I love starting seeds for my garden – and it’s not too late for you to give it a try. Growing veg and flowers from seed is incredibly rewarding, and a cheap way to get tons of plants. Save this post for reference and good luck with all your sprouting! 🌼
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