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Seed Starting

It is the end of January! You know what that means..... SEED STARTING TIME!

Keep in mind that only certain seeds should be planted at this time, but it's a good time nonetheless to start seeds indoors.

seeds growing in a tray
Germinating seeds in tray

First and foremost... the pots. You can reuse pots easily as long as you sanitize them. Do not use bleach. The best ways to sanitize pots (after washing them out of course) are hydrogen peroxide and vinegar. Pick one and you can spray down the pots after washing (no dilution). This is an important step. It prevents damping off of seedlings form soil-borne disease. Be sure to also use fresh soil. I like using coco coir.

Seed starting trays are very helpful. They usually come with a dome to keep in humidity. If you don't have a dome, you can use plastic bags or even saran wrap kept at least an inch above the soil.

You can use a heating mat as well, underneath the trays. It's not necessary unless you are starting them in a cooler area, like an unheated garage or basement. Always use good grow lights. The ones that look purple are better for seedlings. but the daylight ones work just fine. In all honesty a bright white fluorescent light will also work!

Soak your seeds in warm water! Please note this works well for bigger seeds. Smaller seeds will tend to clump and make direct sowing harder. Soak for a minimum of 8-12 hours. Plant immediately, but be careful to gently pull apart seeds after soaking.

Seedling in a clump of soil on a hand

A couple tips:

  1. Each type of seed requires different temperatures for germination. Keep this in mind for the area of the house you plant them in. A heating mat will help control the temp.

  2. Use a handheld pump sprayer a few times a day. Too much or too little water will kill the babies.

  3. The seeds are too old. Seeds have a shelf life. There are ways to keep them longer, but chances are they aren't stored in optimal conditions. Store in a cool, dry place.

  4. Research how deep the seeds need planted each. Typically the bigger seeds need covered with soil and the small ones are lightly placed on top.

  5. Make sure the area has a good airflow, all plants need air.

  6. If you use coco coir rather than a seed starting mix, do not press down. It needs to retain air. And definitely use a humidity dome with coco coir as it dries out a bit faster.

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