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germinating seeds

Now, that you’ve got your seeds ready – you will need to plant them. It is possible to plant seeds both straight away directly in your garden soil or alternatively in containers that can then be transported outside further down the line. This decision depends hugely on the species you wish to plant as some require more sensitive care than others. To do so, you will need to know the ideal growing conditions for your plant; the germination time, and also the earliest time from which you can transport your plant outside.

Garden soil can contain high levels of disease and insects that can cause harm to your seeds. Therefore, it is the safer option in most cases to start your seeds off indoors in ‘seed and cutting’ compost. Obviously, these conditions will vary from plant to plant, so make sure you check thoroughly before beginning the process.

1) Buy Your Seeds

Many seeds do not need lighting to germinate while others do. You may need a source of heat and light as sunlight will most likely not suffice. Pick up a plant lamp to keep your seeds happy with lots of lights and heat. Please note: You may use a fluorescent lamp without trouble but you will need a white bulb to provide the right heat and light for your seeds without burning them. A heat mat may also be a good idea for plants that require extra heat.

You will need a container that is two to three inches deep and features holes at the bottom, for drainage purposes. The width of the container can vary – it all depends on how many seeds you wish to plant. However, remember to ensure you leave enough room for the seeds to germinate. You can buy trays from your local garden centre or online, or you can even use an egg carton. Now that you have your container ready, you will need to line your seeds with your growing medium. Do not fill your container right to the top with this combination, instead leave approximately half an inch at the top. Lightly wet with water to provide a good environment for the seeds to grow in. However, do note that soil-less mixture contains zero nutritional value so it may be a good idea to use seed and cutting compost.

Normally, you should plant your seeds between 4-6 weeks prior to moving them outside, however, species do vary. Also, you may be required to plant your seeds indoors earlier than predicted or indeed later, all dependant on the weather at the time.

About half the old seeds sprouted, and the rest were duds. I planted the sprouted seeds and watched the seedlings carefully to see if they would grow. I didn’t expect much from them, but they did grow into healthy transplants that were eventually planted into the garden.

Place the sprouted seed on top of your growing medium and cover with dry seedling mix. Mist with your spray bottle and place under your growing lights.

Benefits of Pre-Sprouting Seeds

Pre-sprouting lets you germinate the seeds first, and then you can place the sprouted seed with the root into a seedling container to grow. You can see the seed and don’t have to wonder if it is doing anything under the soil. Other advantages of pre-sprouting your seeds include:

Step 5: Place in a warm area. Locate your seed containers in a warm area away from drafts. Also consider choosing an area where the container will not be knocked over or forgotten.

Step 2: Label your containers. Use a water-resistant marker to label your containers or bags.

Print out this chart from Johnny’s Selected Seeds to keep with your seed supply.

If you look around at different sources for seed storage life, there is some conflicting data. But, here’s a basic guideline:

Up to 2 Years
Fennel
Parsley

Tips for How to Germinate Seeds for Seed Starting

When you first break open those seeds packets it feels like a miracle to hold tiny, new seeds in your hands. And it’s exciting to imagine the day when they’ll grow big enough to provide you and your family with harvests of beautiful vegetables.

As I wrote above, at my house most of my seeds germinate just fine on my seedling rack in the ambient temperature of my home.

Starting seeds at home can be an extremely exciting and enjoyable part of your gardening experience. After ordering seeds from various catalogues, setting up your seed starting rack and lights, and gathering all of your supplies, it’s time to finally plant.

If you’ve been foiled by your seeds in the past because you don’t quite understand how to germinate seeds evenly and quickly, I have good news!