Btown Dirt Blog
Local Garden Buzz| Events | Classes | Tutorials | Garden Tips
Seed Starting Do's and Don'ts
As Walt would say, 'Gardeners, start your engines'! It's time to begin gathering seeds and supplies for starting them indoors. It's a little early to begin sowing, but February is a good month for preparation.
There is a wealth of information available on seed-starting techniques, but here are some basic do's and dont's:
DO use a heat mat.
It adds at least an extra 10 degrees of warmth right where you need it -
the bottom of your seed tray which speeds germination.
DO invest in good lighting.
DON'T keep the germination dome on too long. As soon as you see them sprouting, remove the dome.
DO read the seed packet. There's a wealth of helpful information there. Botanical Interests seed packets even have info on the inside of the packet.
DON'T start your seeds too early. If you seedlings became too leggy in the past, it could be a lighting issue, but it could also be that you started them too early. Read the recommended start date on the packet. Many refer to the average last frost day as a benchmark which in our area is May 20.
DO water from the bottom if possible.
DO provide some air movement. Even a small fan near the seed trays will keep air moving and help prevent damping off.
DO use a sterile seed starting mix. It's been formulated and screened to give seeds a good start.
DON'T be afraid to try something new. If you tried starting seeds in the past without much success, give it another try. Analyze your conditions and determine what needs to be improved.
If you are serious about starting vegetables, flowers, and herbs from seed this spring, you may be interested in taking Jo Gardener's online Master Seed Starting course. You can learn more about it at this link.