Starting Your Garden Successfully from Seed
I knew I was going to start a garden when I did. What I didn’t realize was just how many plants I could actually start indoors – from seeds – to get a jump on the growing season.
In the past, when I played around with gardening, I would always go to my local greenery or supply store, buy a few established plants and be on my way. It is safe to say, that although you should never say never, I will never do it that way again.
That being said, I wanted to share with you my tips of starting your plants from seeds. But let me just remind you that if you are anywhere near as impatient as I am you will need to get over that pretty quick when you start your garden this way!
- Choose your Container
I will get more into container gardening elsewhere, here I just want to focus on what you are looking for to start your seeds.
I started mine in trays like you see at any garden center store or Wal-Mart. Now the particular set I started with was a 72-cell tray and included the peat pellets and greenhouse dome. These worked perfectly fine. I started with my cucumbers, zucchini, jalapenos and tomatoes and as you can see below we are coming along quite nicely.
Once I finished up with that tray, I knew I wasn’t going to stop there because herb gardening has always been something I wanted to do. But, when I went back to get more of my handy dandy trays – they were gone <GASP>.
Not to be deterred, I went online and found these little beauties and was set – at least for a little while. Either option will work well to start your seeds. The biggest difference is the peat pellets can be moved either directly into a larger pot or into the ground without much disturbance to the new, tender roots.
- Choose Your Soil
Your soil is important at this point. You’ll want to start with a good foundation to give your seeds their best start. A good seed-starting mix or potting soil will work just fine.
- Seed Depth
Most seed packages, if not all, will advise you on this. Be sure to plant the seeds at the proper depth – too shallow and they won’t establish a good root system, too deep and your seedlings will struggle to break through.
This is another key element that will depend upon the type of seed you’ve planted. Too much water and you run the risk of root rot, too little and they likely won’t grow at all. A light watering once a day should be a good start – especially if you are in a normally dry climate. You’ll want to maintain good, constant moisture throughout this phase and beyond.
Seedlings will need more light than well-established plants – up to 16 hours a day if possible. If you do what I did and started your seeds a tad early, you will have a bit of work to do to make sure they get the light they need. I learned this lesson a bit of the hard way with my tomatoes. Tomato seedlings need more light than my other plants, however, I didn’t find that out until they sprouted and looked like this:
I was able to save them buy transplanting them to a bigger pot and putting enough dirt to reach all the way to the leaves. They now get much more light and are doing much better. Lesson learned.