How to Seed Starting Tips & Techniques
Starting your plants from seed is lots of fun and very rewarding. But the truth is that it can also be confusing and a little intimidating! Here are a few tips to help make sure your experience is a good one.
Seed starting in Paper Pots
Because the seeds are fairly large, tomatoes are one of the easier seeds to start. These seedlings are growing in Paper Pots. It’s easy to be seduced by photos in the seed catalogs — it happens to the best of us, especially in January. But what the catalogs don’t tell you is that some plants are much harder to start from seed than others. No matter how much seed starting experience you have, starting tomatoes is easier than starting primroses. This is because some seeds will germinate almost anywhere, while others have strict requirements for moisture, temperature, and light.
So if you’re new to seed starting, I recommend that you stick with some easy varieties such as tomatoes, zinnias, marigolds, and coleus. These seeds don’t have any special requirements in terms of light, moisture, or pre-treatment. Most seed packets provide little if any information as to specific germination requirements. I am a big fan of Stokes Seeds in Buffalo, N.Y., because their seed packets are written for commercial growers and provide lots of useful details. When you’re growing a challenging type of plant, such as primroses, the information they provide is invaluable. If you plan to grow lots of flowers, consider picking up a copy of From Seed to Bloom, by Eileen Powell (Garden Way Publishing, 1995). It provides specific germination requirements, growth habit, time of bloom, and much more for more than 500 different kinds of flowers and herbs.
APS 24 – Several Seeds
The APS-24, one of several seeds starting options. Containers are a personal choice. Gardener’s Supply offers several different seed starting kits. How do you decide which kind to use? I recommend experimenting with several. Ultimately you’ll choose one kind over another based on things like how much room you have, how attentive you are with watering, what kinds of plants you’re starting, how long the plants will be in the containers, and how many transplants you’re growing.
Over the years I have settled on a few different seeds starting systems:
I start very tiny seeds (like snapdragons, violas, and oregano), and seeds that take a long time to germinate (like primroses and larkspur) in 4″ x 7″ peat flats. I sprinkle the seeds on the soil surface and cover with a sprinkling of soil (unless they require light to germinate). Then I put four to six-peat flats into a standard 10″ x 20″ tray and cover the tray with a clear plastic lid to keep moisture levels constant. Once the seedlings have their second set of true leaves, I separate the individual plants and put them into their growing cells. This system is quick (my own No. 1 priority) and saves on space. I transplant only as many seedlings as I need, and there are no bare cells where seeds didn’t germinate.
I also use a standard plastic tray with a 36-cell insert and a clear plastic lid. One nice feature of this system is that you can separate the insert trays into six-packs. This makes it easy to share extra seedlings with friends. I use this system for annual flowers such as zinnias and marigolds.
I am also a big fan of PaperPort. For starting a large number of seedlings of one variety, they simply can’t be beaten. I use the Large PaperPots for tomatoes, peppers, and eggplants (transplanting them from other smaller containers once the plants have their second set of true leaves). I use the Medium PaperPots for sowing annual flowers — especially varieties I’m growing in quantity for the cutting garden. The medium size pots also make a great second home for seedlings that I’ve started in the peat flats. Paper Pots retain moisture very effectively, and in the medium size, you can grow 80 plants in about two square feet!
I’m always cramped for space, so I reserve the Accelerated Propagation System (APS) for special varieties that benefit from extra TLC. I find that peppers, which can be finicky about moisture, always do well in the APS. I also use them for impatiens, asters, and parsley. And I usually start my tomatoes in an APS, then transplant them into Large Paper Pots. If you’re new to seed starting, the APS is a pretty foolproof system.
After you’ve planted your seeds, I recommend that you cover the container with plastic wrap or a clear plastic lid. As soon as the sprouts have come up through the soil surface, be sure to remove the lid or plastic wrap so your seedlings get the maximum amount of light and plenty of good air circulation.
The Right Soil Makes a Difference
Regular garden soil or potting soil is too dense for the roots of tiny seedlings. A good seed starting mix will be a soilless mixture of sphagnum peat moss, vermiculite, and perlite. This blend will hold moisture, but also be light enough to provide air and wiggle room for the seedlings’ roots.
All soilless mixes should be thoroughly moistened before you put them into the flats or containers. Dump some of the mixes into an old dishpan, add warm water, and mix it around with your hands until the moisture content is that of a well-wrung sponge. Then fill your containers. Sow your seeds and gently press them into contact with the soil. You don’t want air pockets, but you also do not want to compress the medium any more than necessary. Water thoroughly with a gentle dribble so you don’t disturb the seeds. This initial watering is important to establish good contact between seed and soil.
Gardener’s Supply offers two soilless seed starting mediums. Professional Germinating Mix has the finest texture. It is my first choice for starting seeds and is a must for use in the APS system. Transplant Mix has a coarser texture and is best for larger seeds, such as cucumbers or sunflowers, or for transplanting tiny seedlings into larger cells or pots. These mixes contain some nutrients, but you’ll still need to fertilize your seedlings once they have their second set of true leaves. I use Plant Health Care for Seedlings, which contains both organic and readily-available inorganic nutrients. I alternate that with a seaweed fertilizer because I’m convinced it gives me sturdier, more stress-resistant transplants.
Genetically Modified Crops
Planting Right Seeds
Planting a Good Future With the Right Seeds (genetically modified crops)
The world today is waking up to newer environmental disasters, and some of them are very likely caused by genetically modified crops that are widely planted and consumed today. The environment is according to the United Nations Environment Program at the brink of a catastrophe and we need to act yesterday. Genetically modified food is destroying the earth in various ways. Let us look at them now.
Genetically Modified Crops
Genetically modified crops, that are planted so widely, require a very high amount of water. To have that high amount of water, we have to resort to extensive irrigation, which often end up damaging the biodiversity of different regions and which can also cause floods. The widely used genetically modified crops also demand extensive use of pesticides and herbicides, which are extremely harmful to the organisms living in the soil and often end up killing many of the beneficial organisms. Mixed with the water, the pesticides and herbicides contaminate a great region as the water flows over a large region and also seeps underground. Pesticides and herbicides are poison and by consuming those animals and humans can die. Even by handling pesticides and herbicides, farmers fall ill. Many people associate pesticides with carcinogens, claiming that a high rate of cancer patients is linked with extensive pesticide use.
Genetically Modified Varieties
The genetically modified varieties that are used are often made sterile so that one cannot grow a plant from seed kits from the yields of those genetically modified crops. This is done so that farmers have to buy seeds over and over again from multinational companies. When the pollen from the flowers of a plant from such seeds bought from multinational agricultural giants makes pollination with the flowers of another plant of the same species, then the offspring variety is often found to be sterile. So the use of such genetically modified seeds is harmful even to the farmers who are not using them as then many of their seeds too can become sterile.
Also, the world is not entirely aware of how much damage the consumption of food made from such genetically modified crops can do to our bodies. Some studies indicate that genetically modified food is a much better option for our health than genetically modified food. Also, many scientists suggest that due to the extensive use of pesticides in non-organic farming, many microbes and pests are becoming highly resistant and soon scientists might have no tool to fight against those pests and microbes. All this indicates that a change in our agricultural practices is necessary.
The Best Seed Bank
The best seed bank is one such initiative. In a survival seed bank, you keep some varieties of seeds that are not contaminated by genetically modified seeds. This way you preserve the local varieties and by exchanging them you can earn profits. With the help of seed kits, which you can buy at a suitable store, you too can play a role in saving the environment by storing emergency seeds, and not only that, seed kits arm you with the tools of self-sufficiency.
Beneficial For Our Future
Heritage Seeds – Beneficial For Our Future
Sowing Heritage vegetable seeds in your backyard is a great way to guarantee our long-term future. With so many plants and species going extinct these days, raising a simple heirloom plant will make a huge difference. The more heirloom plants we grow and maintain in our gardens, the more we’re helping to preserve the different varieties and as such guaranteeing their survival for numerous years in the future.
Heritage vegetable seeds, also referred to as heirloom vegetable seeds, have always been handed down for many decades by our forbearers. They were all obtained from true-to-type crops. Alternatively, plants that have never been crossbred with other types so they maintain the specific attributes of their parent vegetables. Our ancestors and forefathers harvested these organic and unique heirloom assortments, methodically conserved the seeds, and handed them on so that generations to come might also plant and benefit from them.
Enjoy Hundreds of Heritage Seeds
As a result of their unbelievable endeavors, we’re now fortunate to enjoy hundreds of Heritage seeds and types which are not merely considerably better for our overall health but also much safer for our environment. Now it’s each of our turns to return the benefit by protecting these heritage seeds and handing them down to the succeeding generations.
Despite everything, everybody wants the best for our children, grandkids, and great-grandchildren. We’d like them to have the benefits associated with heirloom crops. Heirloom vegetables are a great deal fresher and tastier, and also they are free from pesticides and genetic alterations. They are unquestionably the more appropriate option for our households in comparison to their genetically modified cousins at the grocery chains.
The point is, heirloom seeds are good for our future years so we ought to do everything we can safeguard them.
Heritage seeds are great for our future, therefore, we ought to do everything we can protect them, as you can see. Just by seeding them in your home garden, you can help to keep the custom of safeguarding heirloom vegetable seeds strong! it’s not merely the practical course of action but it is also our obligation to the environment in addition to the overall health of humankind.
Daniel Harris is a professional photographer and gardener based in Las Vegas, Nevada. He spends most of his free time cycling, tending his heirloom garden, and saving heirloom survival seeds
Growing Garden Seeds is an Absorbing and Exciting Part of Gardening
Growing your garden seeds will fill your garden with unusual, exotic, and colorful plants you won’t find in your local garden center or retail shop.
Growing your plants and flowers from seed means you can quickly and easily fill an empty or dull garden with color, interest, and excitement.
Start sowing in spring and by summer your garden will be full to overflowing with plants that have cost you very little money and not much time.
Growing plants from seed mean you can have as many or as few plants as you like. Sow just a few garden seeds if you have a small space or just want to plant up a few containers for added color to your garden, patio, or backyard.
If you want a mass of color and have a large space to fill then growing your plants from garden seeds is the best and cheapest way to go. You simply prepare the ground, sow the seeds, tend them regularly by keeping weeds away and watering when necessary, and enjoy the show a few weeks later.
By growing your garden plants from seeds you can choose to grow unusual and rare plants that your neighbors won’t have and that are difficult to find in garden centers.
Sowing your seeds and raising plants is also a fun way to get children interested in gardening and gardens. Provide them with their small patch of ground in a sunny, sheltered spot. Give them a couple of packets of easy to grow garden seeds, sunflowers are perfect, show them what to do, and let them get growing. That’s how my dad got me started and I’ve never stopped. Growing your plants from seeds is very addictive!
Growing vegetables from seeds are also becoming much more popular. You can grow your organic food that’s healthy and tasty and much fresher than the supermarket. Also, you know what went into the food you’re eating when you grow your vegetables from seeds.
Once you’ve tried growing your garden seeds you’ll want to keep doing it. You’ll spend the winter browsing through seed catalogs looking for something new and different to grow. And you’ll find yourself looking forward to the new growing season and the excitement of raising your garden plants from seeds.