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Seedlings

Why should you start from seed instead of starting from a small plant?

Starting from seed lets you grow the widest variety of plants, including many new and unusual varieties that are not available in most stores. The best time to start seeds indoors is six to eight weeks before the last frost date for your area. The seed packet will give your more information about indoor planting times.

Benefits of starting seeds indoors?

Starting seeds indoors will give many slow growing vegetables and flowers extra growing time so they’ll grow faster and bloom quickly when you set them in the garden. If you do not start your seeds indoors, slow growing vegetables and flowers might not bloom or produce a harvest before the first frost.

Starting your seeds indoors

For healthy, robust flowers and vegetables, you will need adequate water, warmth and light.

Water ignites the germination process. Once sown, seeds and seedlings should never be allowed to dry out. But be careful, too much water can harm or kill your seedlings. Over watering makes soil temperatures colder and reduces the amount of life-giving oxygen in the growing medium.

Most seeds need a warm soil (70 to 75 degrees F) to germinate. Seeds thrive and flourish in consistently warm temperatures. When selecting the area in your home to start seeds, pick a spot where temperatures are consistent and warm.

Once the seed germinates, it needs light to develop and grow. Seedlings placed in a sunny southern exposure should grow well with just this natural light. If you cannot expose your seedlings to sun, use fluorescent lights.

Tools for starting your seeds indoors

Starting your seeds is fairly simple. All you need is seeds, seed containers, soil, water, and a light system.

Seed containers can range from specially designed germination trays and units to simple household cups. Seed containers should have drainage holes and must be sterilized before use. Drainage holes allow excess water to escape the growing cell. You can sterilize your seed containers by washing them in warm soapy water. Sterilization will help prevent diseases that can harm or kill young seedlings.

Soil for seeds should hold some moisture but be well aerated. It should be free of disease and weeds, and not form a crust-like top. The soil should be a combination of perlite, vermiculite, and/or peat.

Never use ordinary garden soil for starting your seeds. Ordinary garden soil is heavy and clumping and could contain soil-borne diseases.

Water your seedling every couple of days. Do not soak the soil each night. Overly wet soil will promote disease. Let the soil dry out a little on the top, then water thoroughly. If you can, water from the bottom.

Light systems will provide seeds with the light they need to grow. The easiest way to guarantee your seedlings get the light they need is to use a lighting system. Light systems are self-sufficient and can be fit into a small, compact space.

Saving your seeds.

 

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