Sunday, April 17, 2011

Starting Seeds

Before transplanting... After transplanting...

Starting seeds at home is really easy. All you need is some potting soil, seeds, and containers to grow your seeds in and a clean spray bottle for water. A grow light is helpful. A table at a sunny window with a clip light and grow light bulb will work. I put my seed trays in my utility room in front of the window, once I added the clip light the seeds started popping right away!

Here's how you start, choose the seeds you'd like to start. Oh by the way if you are going on vacation between now and, well frankly when you garden you don't travel that much. LOL! Someone needs to be around to water! So, choose your seeds...I am starting some seeds this spring that are attractive to butterflies. I have dill, parsley, milkweed and Tithonia. I am also growing some edibles.

Choose your containers, you can strart seeds in recycled flower containers and trays or collect yougurt cups. Make sure to put a couple of holes in the bottom of the cups. You need to allow water to drain. Or you can even make your own containers out of newspaper. Basically you just fill your containers with soil, and read the seed package to seed how deep the seeds should be planted in the soil or should they be on top of the soil? After the seeds are planted I sprinkle the top of the potting soil with a little "seed starting mix". New seedlings are susseceptible to a fungus called "Damping Off", the fine ground peat moss in the seed starting mix keeps this in check. This is also where the spray bottle comes in. When starting seeds you don't pour water over the containers. After all if the seeds require being on the top of the soil to germinate, the drench of water will surely wash the seeds off the soil. Use the spray bottle to saturate the soil once or twice a day. I do not usually pour water over the top until the plant is in its permanant spot. You can water from underneath by pouring a little water into a tray with no holes and let the soil wick it up. You don't need to do that until the seeds are growing.

After the seeds have sprouted and have grown about a week the seedlings need to be transplanted. Mostly this is necessary if the seedlings are very crowded. So you can either transplant or "thin" the plants out by cutting off some of the seedlings to make room for a few strong plants. I will continue to use the spray bottle until the plants are bigger and very strong. Most plants that I start from seed are not put out in the garden or a planter until after Mother's Day to be sure it is warm enough for the new tender plants. So you see? It is pretty easy! Leave me message if you have any questions. Happy Planting!

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