Monday, May 12, 2014

Starting Your Vegetable Seeds

In this blog post I wanted to take you on a step-by-step of basic instructions on how to start your seeds.

There are literally countless ways you can start them so pick a method that works best for you. Here is just one example of starting seeds that I chose.  Comment below and let me know which method you prefer.

First let's go over the tools of the trade:

1] To start we're going to need something to plant them in. For this example we are using the six cell flat biodegradable seed starting planter from Cowpots

I like to use these because when it is time to plant them in the garden I can simply detach each of the cells and plant the whole pot.  Over the course of the gardening season the pot itself will biodegrade adding nutrients back into the soil.

2] Next we need some actual soil.  I recommend that you get a potting soil mix from your home or garden center that is formulated specifically for fruits, vegetables and/or herb seeds.

You can also create your own seed starting mix. There are plenty of recipes on the Internet.  One popular mix is equal parts compost and peat moss or coir mixed with perilite or vermiculite.  

I have used this mixture and it works great!  However, I like to reduce the amount of perilite or vermiculite to about a quarter of the part of the compost or peat moss.

3] Next up are the seeds that you are going to plant.  In this example I am using celery.  You can use whatever seeds that you would like just be sure to follow the instructions on the back of your seed packet as you move along with this process.

celery seeds from the Seeds of the Month Club

4] Finally you will need something to mark which seeds that you have planted.  I don't know about you but I can easily forget as I start planting a lot of different varieties of seeds.  For this step all you need are some wooden sticks and a sharpie marker.

We are now ready to begin!

First take your soil and fill up the cells of the seed starting six cell flat.

Make sure that you fill each cell in the six cell flat to the top.  Do not press down at this point.  Make sure the soil stays loose.  We will address the "flattening" down of the soil in the next few steps.

Next take your seeds and put them in each individual cell.  The amount of seeds you will put in each cell will depend upon the variety of fruit, vegetable or herb that you are planting.

In this case I am planting celery. As you can seen in the photo above, celery seeds are extremely small.   Unless you have tremendous dexterity (of which I do not), celery seeds are too small to plant individual seeds.

A good rule of thumb is the larger the seed the fewer seeds per each cell.  Of course this may vary depending on what you are planting, so be sure to read the back of your seed packet.

As you can see in the photo I took a pinch of celery seeds and just sprinkled them in each cell.  I will thin these out later when it the time comes to move them to their permanent growing location.

Next take an empty six cell flat and place it on top of the filled six cell flat as shown in the picture and press down firmly.

Some gardeners like to keep their soil loose.  I like to make mine a little bit firm and then put loose soil on top.  I personally have not seen an advantage of one method over the other, so the choice is yours.

NOTE: You can reverse the previous two steps if you like.  i.e. flatten the soil then add the seeds.  Again, the choice is yours.
In this next step, take a little bit more gardening soil and then fill up the six cell flat once again level to the top.

Now that the six cell flat is filled once again with soil do not press down on the topsoil.  You want nice loose soil above the seed so that it can break through the top to sunlight.

Finally write on the wooden stick with your sharpie marker the variety of seed that you had just planted and insert the stick into one of the six cells to Mark what you have just planted.

Give it a light watering and you are all done!  

Comment below and let me know which seed starting method you prefer :)

No comments:

Post a Comment