How to Plant Seeds (Seed Starting)

Are you wondering how to establish seeds for your garden ? today I ‘m sharing my best tips for starting seeds indoors and outdoors .
Hands holding seed packets and a cardboard pot with soil | InSearchOfYummyness Starting your plants from seeds can be a reward experience ! There ‘s nothing quite american samoa satisfy as planting a bantam seed, watching it grow, and then enjoying the rewards of your efforts .
however it can besides be a very torment experience, and I do n’t want you to feel that ! With a bit of data, you can implant your seeds knowing that you ‘ve given them the best opportunity of growing well.

How to Plant Seeds

There ‘s a bunch of information on seed starting hera, so I ‘ve broken down this article into sections. Click on a connect to jump to a specific section, or coil through and read everything in holy order .
Growing Your own food from Seeds
Figuring Out Which Seeds to Start
How to Plant Seeds Outdoors
alternative Way of Planting Seeds Outdoors : winter Sowing
How to Plant Seeds Indoors
Picking a Container for Your Seeds
Caring For Your Seedlings
How to Harden Off Your Seedlings
Dealing with Bugs
A hand holding a cardboard pot full of soil and a hand holding 2 West Coast Seeds packets | InSearchOfYummyness

Every spring my ma and I pick a few vegetables to grow. It ‘s a tradition she started when I was a kid and we were living on the 6th floor of an apartment build .
obviously, we could only do container garden back then, but even now we find that there are certain plants we ‘d rather not grow in the garden. Our eggplants and tomatoes, for exemplar, live in their own containers. meanwhile, flowers and some of my berries occupy the garden beds .
We do n’t normally grow a long ton of thrust, barely adequate to keep ourselves occupied during the warm months. A few carrots here, possibly a humble spot of berries there .
We ‘ve had excellent fortune growing tomatoes and mint. We ‘ve besides had the WORST clock time trying to grow broccoli ( it bolted ), Brussels sprouts ( grew besides dense ) and dill ( ravaged by caterpillars ! ! ) .
One year in the apartment, we even had a reasonably nice avocado plant ! Although I do n’t think it always had fruit on it …
This class we decided to try growing more types of herb and veggies, but we besides wanted to try to keep our costs down, so I had to learn how to establish seeds by rights .
Gardening can get expensive when you buy pamper plants, or established plants, from a greenhouse. So we opted to grow as many things as potential from seeds – something that we ‘ve had minimal success with in the past .
I ‘ve decided to contribution what we ‘ve learned through this process so far, in case it ‘s at all beneficial to anyone else who might be trying to grow their own food at base .

Growing Your Own Food from Seeds

Containers with tomatoes and eggplant in my garden | InSearchOfYummyness
While the principles of how to implant seeds in this article can apply to any kind of seed, I ‘m going to be focusing on starting seeds for comestible plants .
When it comes to growing your own food, starting your plants from seeds can be identical cost-efficient. Seeds are much less expensive than baby plants ( a.k.a. seedlings ) .
however, it ’ second crucial to note that the argue seedlings are pricier is because person else has done the work of germinating and hardening off the plant for you .
If this is your first time starting seeds indoors, start small. Don ’ triiodothyronine get carried off with besides many types of seeds, or you may become overwhelm .
If you ‘re not sure what to plant, my tilt of the easiest vegetables to grow from seed might be helpful to you .

Figuring Out Which Seeds to Start

Packets of vegetable and herb seeds | InSearchOfYummyness If you ‘re new to growing your own food, depart with a few plants that you actually want to eat. There ‘s no target in planting eggplant if no one in your family will eat it !
Pick a couple of vegetables that you like, and possibly an herb or two that you always find yourself buying at the grocery store .
I love growing my own herb because it saves me money ! A packet of seeds costs less than a credit card box of herb from the storehouse, and once it grows I can equitable snip what I need whenever I want some .
Herbs like mint or rosemary are reasonably hardy and low maintenance plants if that ‘s something that appeals toyou. Mint is honestly indeed hard to kill that some people even consider it to be an invasive plant .
My ma and I decided to do a mix of herb and vegetables in containers this year and started sprouting our seeds in March. Since some seeds take longer to germinate than others, and some seedlings ca n’t go outside until well after the final freeze ( i.e. peppers and tomatoes ), we continued to start seeds throughout spring.

tip : If you live in Canada or the United States, head over to the planting calendar page on The Old Farmer ’ s Almanac web site and get the establish calendar for your area. This will help you figure out when to start particular kinds of seeds indoors and outdoors .

We sprouted thyme, basil, hot peppers, sweet peppers, eggplant, tomatoes, zucchini, gumbo, and bittermelon this year. Most of it did fairly well, but I think we may make some adjustments to our selection next class .
If you ‘re looking for places to regulate seeds, or for canadian brands to support, you can check out my number of where to buy seeds online here .

How to Plant Seeds Outdoors

A gloved hand holding a packet of McKenzie Sugar Snap Peas | InSearchOfYummyness
Planting your seeds directly into the dirt is easier than starting them indoors. You do n’t have to worry about hardening off the plants, and there no hazard of shock from transplanting .
besides, not all comestible plants can tolerate being started indoors anyhow. Carrots, for example, are prone to becoming deformed when transplanted. Beans and peas besides go directly into the ground or a container outside, once the temperature outside reaches a certain range.

Be certain to check the recommendations on the back of your seed packet to determine how to plant your seeds. The mailboat will normally tell you how deep to sow the seeds, how far apart to space them, and how long they will take to germinate under ideal conditions .
There may besides be a warn about what temperature to sow the seeds at. Some plants, like green beans, can not be sown into cold land or they will rot. It can be unmanageable to determine the temperature of your territory, so you might want to invest in an cheap dirty thermometer to take the guess out of the serve .
Radishes, carrots and peas love cool weather, so they ‘re normally the first plants to be sow outdoors for the bounce growing season .
If you ‘re practicing companion plant, you can sprinkle your radish and carrot seeds into the same container and cover them lightly with soil. Water them lightly to keep the land damp until they germinate, and then thin them to the package recommendations. The radishes will grow and be harvested before the carrots need the space, which is pretty cool !

Protecting Seedlings from Frost

Let ‘s say you ‘ve already directly sown your seeds and then you find out the temperature outside is going drop drastically. What do you do ?
You can drape your seedlings with net plastic or garden overcharge to help trap the inflame around your germinating seeds or seedlings. Or, you can create an cheap cloche by cutting off the lead of a 1-litre sodium carbonate bottle and placing it over the plant. Leave the capital off for ventilation.

Be certain to check your overnight temperatures, because while it might be dainty during the day, your seedlings will benefit from being covered at night if the temperatures are expected to dip importantly .

Alternative Way of Planting Seeds Outdoors: Winter Sowing

Containers half full of soil used for winter sowing | InSearchOfYummyness
winter inseminate is kind of a hybrid between starting your seeds indoor and planting your seeds outside .
In this method acting, seeds are sown when it ‘s still cold outside into gain plastic containers ( like empty juice bottles ). The container creates a micro-climate that is warmer than the air outside, so the seeds will sprout preferably in the container than they would in the unwrap territory .
This allows you to get a jumpstart on the growing season, while distillery being able to avoid the hardening off process. Stick to cold-hardy crops for best results .

How to Plant Seeds Indoors

Using recycled plastic containers from the grocery to plant seeds | InSearchOfYummyness Again, be surely to check the recommendations on the back of your seed packet to determine when/where to sow the seeds, and when to move seedlings outside .

  1. In a large container, add just enough water to a seed starting mix to saturate it. The soil should be damp not soaking. If your using just plain soil, you may want to add in a starter fertilizer.

    This year I’m using the Pro-Mix Organic Seed Starting Mix to start my seeds because it already has fertilizer built in, and it’s supposed to be bug-free (unlike the bug-ridden potting mix I ended up with last year).

  2. Fill your container with soil, leaving about 1 inch free on top to allow room for watering.
  3. Use the tip of a pencil or chopstick to poke holes into the soil. Alternatively, you can buy a dibbler (but it does basically the same thing as the pencil).
  4. Sow seeds according to the package directions. You will usually want to sow 2-3 seeds per pot, in case one of the seeds doesn’t sprout.
  5. Cover the seeds lightly with more seed starting mix and mist until damp (not soaking wet).
  6. Cover with plastic wrap (or a plastic dome, if using a proper seed tray). This traps the humidity and warmth that the seeds need to germinate.
  7. Label your containers so you know what plants are in which containers.
  8. Leave containers in a warm place, out of direct sunlight unless the seed packet instructions tell you otherwise. Most seeds germinate best in the dark, but some seeds need sunlight to germinate, so check the instructions for your seeds.
  9. While you’re waiting for the seeds to germinate, be sure to remove the plastic lid/dome every day and dry off any condensation. I like to leave the lid off for a bit as well. Too much condensation around your seeds can cause mould to build up, which you don’t want.
  10. Once the seeds have sprouted, they will need a ton of light!
    Remove the plastic, and place under grow lights or by the sunniest window in your home. Most seedlings need 8-12 hours of sunlight a day to thrive.

    If you’re using a grow light, it needs to be relatively close to the seedlings to prevent them from becoming “leggy” (overly tall with thin stalks). How close your lights need to be will depend on what kind of grow light you have. You can learn more about using grow lights here.

    BONUS: I like to run a fan near my seedlings about a week before I start hardening them off. This helps to get them adjusted to wind. The seedlings will dry out more quickly if you use a fan though, so be sure to keep an eye on their moisture levels.

Picking a Container for Your Seeds

Creating a greenhouse for starting seeds with a plastic recycled containers | InSearchOfYummyness Most hardware stores and garden centres carry sow starting kits. You can sometimes find them at the dollar shop, besides. These kits normally have some kind of tray that either holds peat pucks or has room for soil and comes with a lid. These kits are handy, and I own one myself, but they are n’t your merely option .
In the photograph above you ‘ll see that my ma and I used empty plastic trays for this batch. Both trays are from the grocery store store : the big gain one had croissants in it, and the three small ones had mushrooms in them. It was a perfect little set up though !
We put territory in the little trays, added our seeds and labels, misted everything, and then precisely shut the hat. Once the seeds had sprouted, we merely took the three small containers out of the big one .

Other Container Options:

  • Egg cartons 
  • Cardboard cups
  • Cut down plastic milk or juice containers
  • Yogurt cups
  • Plastic takeout boxes

I encourage you to use what best suits your needs. If you ‘re trying to stick to a budget, use what ‘s available to you. If you ‘re worry about damaging the plants when transplanting them, use a container that will break down when it gets wet ( like the cardboard cup ) .
Do make certain you have sow starting mix or peat pucks to use in these containers, though. You could use a regular pot mix, but I ’ d recommend using a seed starting shuffle rather. It ’ s lightweight, encourages fast root growth, and is much sterilized indeed there ‘s less risk of disease or bugs .
additionally, you may want to buy organic soil/seed starting mix if that ‘s significant to you .

Caring For Your Seedlings

Seedlings sprouting in recycled containers | InSearchOfYummyness once your seeds have germinated and grown into seedlings, you ‘ll need to start making some adjustments. weak plants will need to be removed, the remaining plants will need to be moved to bigger containers, and finally, you ‘ll have to start preparing them to go outside .
first, begin by thinning your seedlings. Remove the weakest from each container, and discard them. You should be left with 1 firm plant per container .
When your seedlings grow to about 2-3 inches grandiloquent, with multiple sets of leaves, you ’ ll motivation to move them to a bigger container. If you started with seed starting mix, you can switch to potting dirt now .
When the seedlings are bantam, you ‘ll want to keep misting them to water them gently, aiming for the soil. As they get bigger, you can switch to an eyedropper .
Overwatering can cause the seedlings to wilt or attract fungus gnats ( more on this under ). But besides, pamper leaves may wilt if the territory is besides dry .
I normally just stick my feel into the territory to determine if the soil needs water or not, but this year I ‘ve invested in a soil moisture meter which I love !
If you do n’t have a meter, stick your index feel all the way into the dirt. If it ‘s dry, water system the plant. If it ‘s muffle or wet, check again the adjacent sidereal day .

How to Harden Off Your Seedlings

Several containers with seedlings being hardened off in the backyard | InSearchOfYummyness As you get closer to the date that you can move the plants outside, begin to gradually harden off the establish .
This requires you to move the plants outside, in a louche sphere protected from fart for an increasing come of time each day. Over 10-14 days, you ’ re going to place all the seedlings outside for an hour or two, not in directly sunlight. Every day, increase the measure of clock that they spend outdoor until they can stay out all day .
This is where I actually felt that we had excessively many plants this year. The photograph above shows about half of the plants we had. I stuck them on the deck railing that day because it was dampen and overcast out, and I did n’t want to deal with moving them further from the door .
The summons of dragging every plant outside and back in again was boring. I did finally start corralling the smaller containers into boastfully baskets and trays so I could move more plants at a time, but it was still not fun .
( Just as a side note, that orange tray came out to get sprayed for bugs that day, the plants were excessively bantam to need to be hardened off so far. )
once the plants are hardened off, be sure to set them in a cheery, partially cheery, or fishy descry, depending on the seed packet recommendations .
The dainty thing about planting in containers is that if your implant is n’t getting enough sun, or is getting excessively much sunday, you can equitable pick it up and move it somewhere else. Keep an eye on your plants to see how they ‘re doing as the weeks go by, and adjust their localization as needed .

Dealing with Bugs

Fungus Gnats trapped on Sticky Stiks | InSearchOfYummyness We ended up with a bad casing of fungus gnats from using an infect bag of potting dirt ( from a identical popular post ). They are technically harmless, but they are besides a total nuisance !
We had to spray the plants every few days with a mix of water, dish soap, and neem anoint to get rid of them. We besides used sticky strips to catch whatever was already flying around, which works in truth well.

Read more : Smoked Pork Shoulder

Try to avoid overwatering your plants as fungus gnats love wet dirty and that can just make your situation indeed a lot worse .
I hope you found this article on how to plant seeds utilitarian !

Happy Gardening !
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