5 keys to Successful Seed Starting
Starting seeds indoors can be very rewarding. Watching a few packets of seeds grow into a whole garden full of plants is miraculous. And it's a good way to get your gardening "fix" when the weather won't let you outdoors.
So here are 5 key ingredients to help ensure success:
- Growing medium. Use a sterile, soil-less potting mix. DO NOT use garden soil, or any potting mix that you used last year. A lingering fungus can wipe out your tender seedlings over night. Don't risk it.
- Humidity. After seeding, cover your trays with a clear lid or plastic wrap. Don't make it air-tight, just cover until the seeds sprout to keep moisture from evaporating. Then take the cover off. The Jiffy Carefree Greenhouse comes with a clear cover.
- Light. Read the seed packet. Some seeds require light to germinate, and they ALL require light after they sprout. LOTS of light, more than the short winter days provide. For sturdy, straight stems, use a grow light for up to 16 hours daily.
- Air. Good air circulation prevents damping off disease, which can kill your seedlings overnight, without warning. Uncover the trays when the seeds have sprouted, so that air can circulate. You might consider adding a small fan nearby, or keeping the seeds in a room with a ceiling fan.
- Warmth. Keep your seed trays in a comfortably warm room. Adding a heat mat to warm the root zone will speed and increase germination of many seeds.
With these easy techniques, you'll have trays of strong, healthy plants ready to go into the garden in the spring. Enjoy!