To get a jump start on the garden season, many people choose to start their seeds indoors so that they will have thriving seedlings to transplant to their garden come spring. It is a fun hobby that many people do each year in anticipation of spring. As you are preparing your garden you can also set up real wood sectional sofas that you can use in your garden to sit and relax there. You can get them at a really affordable price and they will add more beauty to your garden. Now coming back to the preparation of your garden. When cabin fever has come, bring out the seeds, seed trays, and planting medium to cure the fever! There are a few necessities and procedures when it comes to seed starting you should follow.
The first thing you will need to think about is where you would like to place the seed trays. You will want a sunny spot somewhere in your house that is fairly undisturbed. A sunny window, indoor porch or any southern exposure place in your home will do. If you do not have a place where the sun can shine on the trays, you could invest in a growing light or some simple cool-white fluorescent light bulbs.
You will also need a container to grow your seedlings in. In any garden store, you can find an entire section devoted to seed starting. They make all sorts of seed trays that come with peat pellets and are ready for planting. You could also use small pots or any planting container. You will only need the container until it is warm enough to plant your seedlings outside. Peat pots work well since they are biodegradable and you can plant them directly into the soil with the seedlings. Peat pots will require constant moisture checking since the pots will draw moisture out of the soil.
The most important part of seed starting is the seeds! You will want to purchase your seeds of choice from a reputable nursery or magazine. Using fresh seeds will result in the best germination rate, but you may use last year’s seeds as well. You will just want to check on them and be sure they have germinated. When planting the seeds you will want to mark them carefully so you know how to place them into your garden in the spring. You may want to keep vegetable seedling separate from flowering seeds or arrange them by planting times. Any way that you can organize your seeds will help you in the spring for easy transplanting.
Another necessity in seed starting is your growing medium. The best choice is a commercially produced seed starting medium. This planting mix can easily be found in the same section of the garden center where you found the growing trays. You can use any loamy potting soil, but specially formulated seed starting soil mixes will result in the best germination and sprouting of your seeds. This is one area where you should spend the extra money to guarantee your success.
Once you have all your materials, you can begin planting! If you purchased a kit you should have received very detailed instructions on how to plant and care for your seeds and seedlings. If you are not using a kit, you will need to follow the following instructions. You can start by filling the pots ¾ of the way full. You will want to leave at least .25 inch on the top for watering. After you fill the pot’s water the soil evenly and allow the moisture to distribute throughout the pot. Make a small hole for the seed with your finger and place the seed into the hole. The depth of planting will be listed on the seed packet for instructions. Most seeds should be planted 4 times as deep as their width. Very small seeds need to only be covered with a small layer of soil.
Keeping your moisture level just right is very important to your seeds. If the soil remains too moist the seeds may rot and decay before any growth has started. If the soil is too dry, the seeds will not be able to germinate. Many kits come with a dome covering to hold the moisture in and heat the soil. If you are using a cover, be sure to monitor the moisture level and vent the dome daily. It is best to water the seedlings with a fine mister to avoid drenching and damaging the fragile seedlings.
Before you plan on transplanting your seedlings you will want to begin hardening off stage. For about a week you will need to take your seedlings outside for the day and place them in their future environment. This will help them to avoid complete shock when you set them in the garden. You will want to place them in the shade first and gradually place them into the full sun where they will be planted. It is also important to bring them inside at night to protect them from the cool temperatures.
When it is time for transplanting be sure that all chances of frost have passed so that your seedlings are not damaged during a night frost. Water the garden and the seedling prior to transplanting. Rake the soil so that it is nice and soft, and then make small holes for each seedling you are planning on planting. Press the soil firmly around the seedling and leave a small depression near the stem so that when you water the water will stay there and not just runoff. If the water runs over the newly planted seedlings, they may dry out and dye in the new soil. The first week is critical to seedlings survival. Check on them daily to ensure they are thriving in their new environment.
Seed starting is tedious work. It can be very rewarding during the fall when you are harvesting ahead of time when other gardens are still bearing no fruits and vegetables. Your flower gardens will be a beautiful step ahead and other gardeners will be wondering how you did it! Though it requires time and energy, you will be so glad you started those seeds indoors during those early weeks of spring!