Spring is just a little way off which means we’re going to be starting our seedlings soon! It’s always kind of a family affair, here at Rosevine Cottage, I always love the day we all get together on the back porch around our table and start planting. I have so many memories of my grandmother laughing and filling all of the pots so we could label them and put seeds in them.
Gardening can be a little intimidating, especially for beginners so we thought we would put together this post to show teach you the ins and outs of seed starting!
What You Will Need To Start Seeds:
A good seed starting soil
Pots – anything with drainage holes will work
How To Start Seeds:
Moisten dirt, not so much that it becomes muddy but just enough to let the soil plump up.
Fill pots with seed starting soil, tap the pots on a hard surface to settle the dirt and remove any air pockets. Add more soil if necessary to top of the pot.
Check The Seed Package:
Check the package of each seed variety you plan to start to find out the depth they need to be planted and any specific requirements, it’s also a good idea to see when each one should be planted. Fast growing summer annuals should be started 4-6 weeks before last frost date, while slower varieties should be started 10-12 weeks before the last frost. Talk to a reputable nursery, master gardener or check the Farmer’s Almanac for your area to figure out the estimated last frost date.
Once you know the depth that the seeds need to be planted, start sewing your seeds. For very tiny seed you can lay them on top of the soil and dust with soil over them, larger ones will need to be buried. Depending on what you are planting you can plant more than one seed per pot, we like to plant two when we are planting veggies. Label each pot/tray with what you planted so you won’t have to guess later, pop cycles sticks work great or use the ones in our shop!
After You Plant Seeds:
Keep the soil moist, but don’t over water it. If you are planting very small seeds water from beneath, this will work for larger ones too. You can do it by sitting the pots in a tray of standing water, allow to sit until the soil becomes moist then remove from water. Once the seeds have sprouted you’ll want to water from the bottom so you don’t damage the tender plants.
Once your seeds have sprouted they will need lots of light (14-16 hours), a south-facing window will work or you can use grow lights. Keep the lights 2-3 inches above the top of the plants. Check seeds daily to make sure they are moist enough, and the lights don’t get to close to the plants.
Before you transplant out into the garden make sure you “harden off” your plants off. A cold frame works great for this, but if you don’t have one place seedlings in a partially sunny place that is protected from the wind for several hours at a time (make sure you bring them in at night) learn more about transferring seedlings to the garden.
After Moving Seedlings To The Garden:
Store leftover seeds in a cool dark place, where rodents and bugs can’t get at them.
Keeping a garden journal of what you planted and when will be really helpful later on, you can also keep track of how different varieties do and when they start to produce.
Before you go, check these out!
- How To Transplant Seedlings Into The Garden
- How To Make Your Own Garden Soil
- How To Plan A Fall Garden