Interested in starting seeds, but don't know where to start? We have you covered! Today's Tip of the Week will give you some tips on how to start seeds so you can get ahead of the growing season!
First, find out when you need to start your seeds. The goal of starting seeds early is to ensure that they are ready to be planted outside when the weather is nice enough. Many seed packets list when the seeds should be started indoors. Most seeds take 6 to 8 weeks to germinate, so you should start seeds 6 to 8 weeks before you can plant them outside, depending on where you live. Mother's Day is when we are typically out of danger of frost, so most plants can be planted outside by then. If it is still cold, you can protect your plants and seedlings with frost covers until the temperatures are warmer.
Next, you want to find the right containers to germinate your seeds in. It is preferable to start seeds in containers with drainage holes. Delaney's carries different types of seed trays that work perfectly for starting seeds in. When you germinate your seeds, you want the seeds to be warm and humid. Using a heating mat under the seed tray can keep the seeds warm, while a clear plastic cover on top of the seed tray can keep the growing conditions humid. We sell these items separately and in kits.
Next, you want to pick out the right soil to germinate your seeds. You should start with a seedling mix. Seedling mixes are soils specifically made for germinating seeds. These soils are lighter and allow the seeds to germinate easier.
When you begin planting your seeds, you want the seedling mix to be moist, but not saturated. Your seed packets should recommend how deep the seed should be planted. Some need to be planted deeper while others can be right on the surface of the soil. You will want to mist the soil about 2-3 times a day. Again, the soil should just be moist, not saturated. The plastic covers will help keep the soil moist.
The best place to keep your seedlings is in an area that is not too cold. While windows provide light, they are typically too cold at this time of year. It is best to keep seeds warm, at about 65-70 degrees. Seeds should be warm and humid, but not too humid or mold will grow. Keeping them warm will allow them to germinate more quickly. You also want them to get ample light. Using a plant light to provide artificial light works the best. You should keep light on the seeds for about 8-10 hours when they are just starting out.
As your seeds begin to germinate, you will begin to see leaves. The first two leaves of a seedling are not the plant's true leaves. Wait for the full 6 to 8 weeks and allow the seedling to fully germinate and grow ample roots. Don't be too hard on yourself if not all of your seeds don't germinate. If about 75% to 85% of your seeds germinate, then you have a good batch of seeds.
That is how you germinate seeds. If you have any questions or in need of seeds and seeding starting supplies, stop in at Delaney's. We are happy to help answer any questions and get you the right products you need!