Seeds and seedlings require moisture for proper development, yet too much or too little moisture could harm them. Misting can provide just the right amount of hydration.
Choose containers to hold seeds and growing medium (peat pellets or potting soil), that drain well. Options for such containers could include plastic seed trays, cardboard egg cartons or clean, cut-down milk/yogurt containers that drain well.
Choose the Right Seeds
Planting seeds is immensely satisfying. Even just 50-100 seeds can yield a flourishing garden that looks nothing like their seedy beginnings; furthermore, this method of gardening is considerably less costly than purchasing transplants from garden centers and makes for a fun activity for kids!
Before beginning, it’s essential that you select seeds suitable to your needs and conditions. A great place to start is assessing your USDA hardiness zone and finding seeds recommended specifically for it; these will germinate best under temperatures and humidity conditions typical to your region.
Consider how much space you have available before deciding what seeds and varieties to grow. If space is tight, opt for vertical planting such as beans or tomatoes that grow upward rather than out. And for container gardens, use smaller seeds that suit this format well.
If you are growing in containers, nearly any lightweight container with adequate drainage should work fine; however, for seedling trays with cells (compartments), plastic seedling trays with compartments is ideal as it makes transplanting seedlings much simpler and can often be found at home improvement stores as a flat. Once purchased, they should remain usable.
Starting your own seedlings offers several other advantages. First of all, the selection is much wider than what’s typically offered at garden centers; you’ll have access to varieties designed specifically for sauce or pickling as well as experiment with new varieties – and even heirloom varieties!
Growing plants from seed is an enjoyable, educational, and engaging hobby that’s easier than you might imagine. By following the tips in this Backyard Smart video, your seeds will soon transform into vibrant vegetables, herbs, and flowers!
Choose the Right Container
Start your garden from seeds for an early start on the season and more options than purchasing transplants at your local greenhouse or garden center. It can also be an educational and enjoyable activity to do with children. Seeds are relatively affordable too, enabling you to use basic supplies and some time to cultivate an array of vegetables, herbs and flowers that will grace your backyard!
Start your seeds in any small container that holds soil and has drainage holes, such as a seed starting tray with individual cells for each seedling – this allows you to transplant them easily into your garden or larger pots later. Other containers you might try using for seed starting include plastic salad containers, egg cartons or toilet paper rolls with their bottom folded in.
When planting seeds, it’s essential to follow the instructions on the seed packet carefully. As many vegetables have specific light and water requirements, as well as specific spacing needs. In addition, before beginning any planting activity it would be prudent to clear away any weeds which compete for nutrients and water supplies in your surrounding area.
After your seeds germinate, they’ll require ample sunlight in order to flourish quickly. To promote this growth, place them in a warm location that’s draft free; gentle warmth should do just fine as long as there’s no harsh heat; otherwise heat mats might need to be added as extra insulation in their containers.
As soon as you’re ready to transplant seedlings into your garden, thin them so each can spread its roots out and establish healthy, sturdy plants when planted in the ground. Once they’re 3 to 4 inches tall, plant them out. For easier planting, group sun plants together while shade plants together so taller plants won’t obscure smaller ones or create leggy, spindly seedlings.
Plant the Seeds at the Right Depth
Growing plants from seeds is both fulfilling and economical, giving you more control over varieties and timing than buying established seedlings. But it isn’t without risks: too deep planting could result in strugglers struggling to emerge, while too shallow could expose seedlings to harsh elements or cause them to start slowly due to lacking energy needed to support their development.
Be sure to follow the planting depth instructions on your seed packet for optimal seed development. In general, small seeds should be planted at twice their width depth in soil; medium seeds at slightly deeper depth; for large ones consult their planting guide on their packet for specific information.
Planting seed requires not only proper depth and depth of coverage but also in well-drained soil that is rich with organic matter to improve structure and water-holding capacity. Furthermore, you should prepare the planting area by loosening up and clearing away weeds as these compete with young seedlings for nutrients and moisture.
Early spring is typically the ideal time and place to sow seeds, once frost threat has subsided and soil temperatures begin to warm. In some areas it may also be possible to sow some seeds late summer or fall depending on climatic conditions in your region.
When planting, fill a planting container with sterile seed starting mixture and plant your seeds at their recommended depth. Alternatively, any type of clean container holding soil or peat pellets and equipped with drainage holes at its bottom (e.g. an empty milk carton, egg carton with 12 planting spots or aluminum pan with plastic lid will do), may also work just as effectively – be sure to mark each cell individually using permanent marker so you’ll know which seeds have been planted! If using a planter with individual planting cells be sure to label each cell so you know which seeds have been planted!
Mist the Seeds
Germination typically takes up to one week, making misting seeds an essential step in their optimal development. You will require either a watering can with a fine sprayer, or turkey baster equipped with an open tip and not too forceful force, in order to mist your seeds effectively and avoid dislodging seedlings. Peat moss or coconut coir will absorb moisture effectively; vermiculite can further increase water retention.
Once your potting mix is damp, sow your seeds. For lettuce planting, only a light scatter of seeds may be necessary; but other vegetables like squash and nasturtium require pushing two into each cell of a seed starting tray (this way there will always be an insurance policy should one fail to germinate). Cover these seeds with seed-starting mix before lightly misting until damp surface conditions prevail.
Watering from the bottom allows seeds to take in moisture through their drainage holes or porous walls of their tray, so as to not overwater as this can cause seed-starting mix to become hydrophobic and repel moisture.
Misting seeds regularly is essential in protecting them from drying out and rotting before sprouting occurs, something which could happen if kept too cold, exposed to drafts, or due to missed watering sessions.
Once the seeds have been planted, place their tray in a warm location out of direct sunlight, such as on a windowsill or the top of a refrigerator. This warm environment helps the seeds develop strong roots that will ensure survival through nightfall when finally transferred outdoors.
As the seeds begin to germinate, misting them daily with water will help maintain moisture and provide sufficient sunlight for their rapid growth. Once temperatures warm up again, transplant the seedlings into your garden; be sure to refer back to the instructions on your seed packets; some vegetables such as beans and squash require an extended period in darkness for their seeds to germinate while others must be planted as transplants as they don’t possess as robust a root system as those grown from seeds.