Indoor seed starting is a great way to get a head start on your Spring gardening. It can also bring lots of frustration with leggy plants, poor root systems, bad germination, and damping off. I have a few tips that have helped me become a master at indoor seed starting.
1. Order good quality seeds, store in cool dry place.
2. Don't jump the gun and plant to early. This results in plants that are root bound, leggy, and too big for transplant. Know our last frost date ( I go with May 15th ) and read the seed packet to see how many weeks before that to start seeds. or find a nice chart with planting dates.
3. Use a good quality I use Promix it works great for me you can find it a many professional growing stores.
4. Use new or clean seed starting trays. If you reuse old trays clean them well with bleach water and let them dry before using. This will insure any residual fungus is removed from previous growth.
5. Seeds germinate best in warm soil. A seed starting heating mat .
6. I like good quality seed trays. I like the with 3 inch deep cells. Also good heavy duty seed bottom trays. Also clear plastic seed tray covers.
Lets get started.
1. Fill seed tray cells to top with soil. Crush up and large soil chunks.
2. place seeds in cells at depth recommended on seed pack.
3. fill bottom tray 1/4 to 1/2 full with very hot water from sink. This will take a little trial and error depending on size of cells and type of soil you want the water to wick up to top of cell and keep seeds moist until they sprout. Hot water at first will speed up germination.
4. Put on heat mat, and cover with plastic dome to keep moisture & heat in
5. Pull cover off as soon as seedlings appear.
6. Key to healthy seedlings is to always water from bottom. Let bottom tray dry out before watering, then do not over water. Water enough in bottom to soak part way up soil, keep top of soil dry. Make sure tray is level so it gets watered evenly.
7. Light on new seedlings is important. If using grow lights 16 to 18 hours. If using window light try to get as much light as possible and rotate tray so it gets even light.
Hi, my name is Mitch. I am the Unity Gardens Manager. I am a Purdue Master Gardener and teach many of the gardening classes. I also manage the LaSalle Square Garden, and maintain the website, blog and newsletter.