Starting Plants from Seeds

You can have success planting seeds and developing a beautiful vegetable or flower garden with a few tips and techniques learned by the experts. There are certain things you’ll need, of course, like pots and other containers, soil or potting mix, and lots of water. Use labels to mark what’s what or you’re likely to not recognize what you’ve grown. One last thing you’ll need: light.

Dump potting soil out on newspaper. Break apart any lumps before using. Dampen the potting soil by spraying with a squirt bottle. Soil should be wet but not sopping wet. There should be no clumps or dry soil. Fill the containers two-thirds full with the dampened soil. Don’t pack it down, though. Just put it in the container and gently tap the pot on a hard surface to settle the dirt.

Place the seeds in each container. Always read the package of seeds to determine if it’s necessary to pre-treat the seeds in some manner (some seeds require soaking before planting). For small seeds, sprinkle a pinch on top, place a layer of soil over them, and squirt a couple of times with the spray bottle. For large seeds, check the pack to see how many can be planted together. Count the seeds and place them properly in their containers, cover with soil, and squirt a little with spray bottle.

Cover each container of seeds with plastic. The plastic will hold in heat and moisture and help the plants grow faster. Place entire pots in bags or just cover with sheets of plastic. Set the plants where they’ll get plenty of sunlight. When germinating plants, though, it’s best to keep out of extreme heat. Temperatures of 65 to 70 degrees are best for germinating.

Open the plastic bags, or remove the plastic overlay, once a day to prevent mold. When you see the first sign of life, remove the plastic. Place the plants in a sunny window or across the room, as long as they receive at least 12 hours of light each day.

By the time the new plants reach three inches tall, it’s time to give them plant food. Check with your local home and garden store, or search online for just the right plant food for the type of plants you’re growing. The fertilizer should be high in potassium and nitrogen. After a couple more weeks it’s time to plant the flowers or vegetables outside.

Some plants can go into shock if taken directly from inside to outside. Since the plants need time to acclimate to their new surroundings, set them out, in their current pots, onto the deck or porch each day. Allow the plants to sit outside for a couple of hours the first day, a little longer the next. After a week or so of this, it’s time to plant them in the ground.

Dig a small hole and remove the plant from the pot, placing it, along with fertilized soil, into the hole. Transplant the plants in the early morning or evening but not in the middle of the day. Be sure and water the plants upon transplanting them into the ground. Water plants regularly – usually each day. After raining your plants may not need water for a couple of days.Your garden can make you proud if you follow these few steps to successful planting from seeds.

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