Get Smart with Seed Starting!
Hello February! March is right around the corner and we should thinking about starting our seeds for this year growing season. We want to start things about six to eight weeks before the last frost date. For you new gardeners jumping onto my blog, the last frost date is the final spring frost in your location. The last frost date for my neck of the woods is May 2, according to the Farmer’s Almanac. To find your last frost date: go to the link at the bottom of my seed starting article and type in your zip code. Finding out this date will pave the way for your seed starting schedule. In my honest opinion, I have seen cold snaps in May where I have lost plant stock at my garden center. I do tell my customers to think about planting the weekend AFTER Mother’s Day. If you wanted to really plan out starting seeds of even buying vegetable seedlings, plan it the weekend after Mother’s Day because you will be in the clear from any lingering cold snaps.
I have plans to release a short and sweet timing guide when it comes to starting our seeds, however I do have a Seed Starting Check List that will help you think about everything you need to get your seeds going. There are many different products out there and this check list will stream line it to the most important items that you will need. Garden centers are fully stocked and ready to rock and roll to help you start your seeds! Take a moment to shop at your local independent garden center for top notch products and talk to them about your gardening goals because their plethora of knowledge will definitely help you achieve those goals!
We are going to start with talking about trays and just go down the items list that I have presented! Please know that the brands that I have mentioned in my article, you can click on the picture and it will take you to their webpage for you to explore the brand!
Trays are a given to starting your seeds. They can come in different forms to empty trays or trays with cell inserts. You can even look up ways to up cycle items in your home to use to start seeds as well (such as egg cartons). If you use an empty tray, you do need to think about transplanting them into small pots at some point. The inserts are excellent because you will eventually have just one plant in the insert instead of a whole bunch of plants needing to be transplanted into little pots down the road so that your sprouts have room to grow, whereas when you start your seeds in inserts - you put three seeds in the insert in the event seeds do not germinate or do not thrive. If you have all those three seeds germinating, you can remove two and put them into their own pot!
Tray domes or plastic wrap, is good to protect the seeds, keep in moisture as well as heat. This aids you where you don’t need to water the soil very often. Some tray domes have a vent to them because you do want air circulation to let some air out. If you do go with plastic wrap, you need to be able to let out some air stuck inside. If we keep the soil moist and not promote good air circulation, mold can develop on top of the soil.
Heating mats are important because it keeps your soil at the right temperature to encourage the seeds to develop roots. We know when the conditions are right out seeds will grow. Seeds want their soil to be between 68°F to 86°F depending on the type of plant you are trying to germinate.
Seed starting soil is important because it is light and fluffy, as well as less nutritious compared to other potting soils out there. Seed starting soil provides an excellent environment to start seeds in but it does not give seedlings what they need for long term growth - this is when you take your seedlings and transfer them into potting soil. My two favorite seed starting soils is Espoma’s Seed Starting Soil and Fox Farm Light Warrior seed starting soil. Both excellent product lines for your gardening needs!
Labels are always good because it allows you to identify your seedlings before the true leaves have developed or if plant identification is not a strong suit for you, it helps you familiarize yourself with a name or variety of the plant as it is actively growing.
Spray bottles are the best tool for seed starting because it allows you to just keep the soil moist. Because you are starting seeds, you do not need to soak the soil as if you are watering a plant because you can wash out or drown out your seeds; as well as your seeds do not have a complex root system where they do not need to utilize that much water.
You are going to need seeds! That’s a given for this gardening adventure! You may have seeds left over from last year or you may need to purchase your seeds. I recommend buying from your local garden center when it comes to your seeds. My garden center suppliers Lake Valley Seeds, located out in Colorado and they have an excellent product line when it comes to organic vegetables and flowering plants!
I hope with my seed starting article you have learned what you need for your adventure to starting seeds! It is such a true reward being able to start from seed. My customers have such a love from starting their vegetables and being able to experience the growing process from seed to harvest. I encourage this practice because growing your own vegetables is healthy for the mind and body as well as being able to enjoy fresh produce. Please shoot me a message if you want to step into seed starting! I have answers for your questions! Happy growing!
*The photos included in the article are found off of Google search
*This is not an ad for the brands that have been included; these brands are supported by me that I do sell at the garden center. The brands that have been supported in my article today, if you click on the picture it will take you to the company site so you can check out their product lines.
*Seed Starting Checklist is created with Text Art
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