As we continue exploring our Social Distance Gardening, we get a lot of questions about how to properly start growing seeds. Starting seeds at the right time is the most important step to having a successful growing season. Luckily, it’s easy enough to start growing from seeds—all it really requires is patience, patience, and more patience.
To make the process a little easier, let’s break it down into 6 important tips that will make you more successful.
The Timing. Honestly, this is the key to having a successful growing season. If you seed too early the weather may not cooperate when it’s time to move them outside, thus causing issues with your delicate seedlings. Keep in mind that some seeds should just be started outside. Veggies like beans and squash germinate and grow way too quickly for starting inside.
The Container. You can start seeds in almost any type of container, as long as it’s at least 2-3″ deep and has some drainage holes. We prefer the convenience of the seed starting trays (we carry them) because they are specifically made for seed starting. They are easy to fill with dirt, the water drainage system is ideal, and it can easily be moved. However, if you’re a DIYer you can used various containers like yogurt cups, milk cartons, paper cups or even eggshells!
The Soil. Simply choose a soil that’s made for seed starting. Using soil from your garden or potting soil for houseplants will not give you the results you’re looking for. Start with a fresh, sterile mix that will ensure healthy, disease-free seedlings. You’ll also want to make sure once you plant the seeds that you use a fertilizer after about a week, mainly because seed soils contain very few nutrients.
The Depth. You’ll find the depth you need on the seed packet. Make sure you don’t go any deeper than the packet says otherwise the seed won’t have enough energy to break the surface of the soil.
The Water. Before planting your seeds, misting with water will help get them started because it’s important your seeds stay moist. Most importantly don’t soak or drown those seeds and make sure to let the soil dry slightly between watering.
The Light. Seedlings need a lot of light, let me say that again—seedlings need a lot of light! If your growing in a window, make it a south-facing window and rotate the trays so the little plant babies don’t lean to one side too much.
Take note that each plant has its own special properties and requirements, so for beginners it’s best to start by growing seeds in small sections and check out our Seed Calendar for the best times to start. That way it’s a little more manageable and the chance of success is higher. So, get out there, get dirty and get those seeds planted!