Gardening 101, Produce

Starting Seeds in Pots

Got my seeds! Ready to plant in the ground….do be do be do……what do you mean I can’t plant before the average frost? But this packet says I need to plant these 4 weeks before that. So what do you recommend I do?

Well, let me tell you, when you go into that feed store and ask for starter pots you are going to get a ton of choices. Do you want small, medium, large, plastic, decomposable pots, domes, bag of potting soil, heat mats, and grow lights? Then you reconsider the price so you Pinterest DIY and it said you could use eggs, egg cartons, old cans, jars, baby food, heck just throw a potato in a trash can and it’s like magic.

All of this is possible. No one is really wrong, it’s more about how you do it. So here is a basic breakdown of the necessities:

  • Light- 6-8 hours for seedlings. 8-10 hours as they get bigger. This can be natural southern sun in the window or lamp/grow lights.
  • Container with drainage- plastic flats, decomposable pots, eggs, cartons, cans, all fine as long as there is a hole at the bottom for excess water drainage. You don’t want to drown your seeds or cause mold to grow. The size depends on how long and large the plant will be in there to grow. You can always transplant to a larger container later. NOTE: If you are growing vegetables and use eggs there could be pathogens passed so eggs should be bleached clean before use.
  • Water- your soil needs to stay moist (not soaking). A dome over a flat helps keep the moisture in so you don’t have to water as often. Using a spray bottle is best to prevent drowning the seeds. Some even water from the bottom tray and let the water soak up through the pots. If you forget a day and the pot drys completely you can lose the plant.
  • Heat- veggie seeds do not like the cold. Some people get heat pads to improve germination which do really work, but it doesn’t mean you have to get one (they are not cheap.) Keep the seeds in your home or in a heated greenhouse at an average temperature between 60-80.
  • Soil- the magic stuff. Get some potting soil as it has things in it to hold moisture to help with drying out and it’s free of weed seeds. Your dirt outside can sometimes work but unless you have done a soil test to know what nutrients it’s lacking it may not be enough. You will also be bringing in weed seeds that can compete with your babies.

There are the 5 things to focus on. From here you can Pinterest and DIY to whatever your heart desires, just be sure to achieve the above standards for success.

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