Seed Starting Tips
Seed starting for your garden in mid-April is happening at the Coronado house – here is how to get started. My friends, it is never too late to plant a seed, so if you are thinking, “It’s too late to start seeds.” Last fall I featured a trick for bringing in all those tropical plants using plant stands and a special Compact 3-Tier SunLite Garden from Gardeners.com. I have multi-purposed the 3-tier stand for seed starting. I pulled all the plants off of the lighted stand and doubled them up on my regular plant stands. Then I got to work planting the seeds. My goal – to have fresh microgreens for the kitchen throughout spring and to pull the other seedlings outside in six weeks for a few days of hardening off before I plant the babies directly in the soil.
First I started by selecting the seeds I wanted to sprout (see photo above). I chose Botanical Interests Red Winter Kale Microgreens, Market Day Lettuce Mesclun, Peas for Shoots, Bull’s Blood Beets, Custom Blend Basil, Clause Garden Pop Art White & Red Zinnia, and the All American Selections Winner Pole Bean Seychelles.
Once I had my seeds, I used the grease Seed Starter Kit and followed the directions on the package. Using the Organic Seed Starting Mix, I moistened the mix, moistened the capillary matting, and put water in the bottom of the seed starter kit. Then I placed the moistened mix in the cells and planted the seeds according to directions. I also used a few peat pots to fill in the extra space on the shelves. Repeating the process of moistening the soil, I placed the seeds on top of the soil according to package directions.
Once you fill the containers and plant the seeds, it is important to keep the soil well-watered until the seedlings sprout. Be cautious and gentle with watering so that you do not jar the seeds loose. Gardeners.com suggests that you keep the capillary matting damp at all times in order to help support the plants. Supplemental, full-spectrum light, such as that provided by the special Compact 3-Tier SunLite Garden helps the seedlings get started. Be sure to keep the lights within a few inches of the growing seedlings and turned on 14 to 16 hours per day if possible. Keep the area warm – between 68 and 75 degrees Fahrenheit. One terrific benefit to the growing trays is that they are dishwasher safe for end-of-season cleanup.
In my experience, the clear top to the kit is only needed for a short time. Once the seedlings get started, they like fresh air circulation. This also helps prevent fungal problems and damping off. Seed starting becomes easier when you use these miniature greenhouse starting kits – special thanks to Gardeners.com for sending them out so that I could see how they work. As soon as the little babies start sprouting I will share the photos with you on social media.
Do you have seed starting tips and ideas? Please leave them in the comments below so we can share your knowledge and love of plants. Thanks a bunch and Happy Spring!