by Nicholas Walker, Brand Ambassador for kathy ireland Designs – Jardin
March has arrived and with it comes spring, what a perfect month to get plants started from seeds. Now that the winter has fled, getting your hands in the dirt is a great way to welcome spring and get your garden growing. Follow the steps below and you will be growing seedlings in a snap:
1. First on your list is getting containers, they can be plant pots, a kitchen serving dish, egg cartons; even old yogurt containers can do the trick very well. Wash them out thoroughly with hot water to ensure a clean, fresh start for your seeds.
2. Potting mix is next on your list and a soil less peat mix is always a good choice and can be purchased at your local nursery.
3. You will need plastic bags for keeping the warmth and humidity in.
4. Labels for marking the seeds so you know what’s what.
5. Let there be light! You will need a good natural light source, or you must purchase a plant light if you don’t have a bright, florescent light at home.
So now it is time to start planting the seeds and here is how to do it:
1. Fill your containers with potting soil, almost to the top of the container and moisten
the soil thoroughly before planting.
2. Different seeds need different preparation before planting so read the directions
thoroughly before planting the seeds, some may require soaking before planting and this will be critical to their growth.
3. The rule of thumb when planting most types of seeds of seeds is to make a hole or trench about twice the diameter of the seed. With much tinier seeds it is best to place them on the top of the soil, uncovered. Plant the seeds about an inch apart so that they have room to grow and better air circulation and you will have easier access to the seedlings when you need to transplant them.
4. Now it is time to make a mini greenhouse for your little seeds as they need light and heat to germinate and grow. You can use a plastic bag to cover the seeds and secure them in the soil with small stakes. The greenhouse will make a warm, moist environment for the seeds and help them achieve optimum growth and don’t forget to place the seed containers where they will get light, but NOT direct sunlight.
10. Now you will have to be patient as germination can take a days or months. When you see the seeds sprouting up through the soil remove the plastic and place them in brighter light but not too bright yet. Keep the soil moist but not soggy at this stage as they young roots can easily get waterlogged.
11. Always handle the seedlings by the leaves and not the stem as leaves can grow back but a damaged stem can mean the end of a well tended seedling.
12. Gradually increase the light intensity and then move them outdoors to a sheltered area, away from critters that will see your seedlings a delicious meal. Animals and slugs can undo your months of hard work in moments so take care when choosing your outdoor spot.
Growing plants from seeds is a fascinating and worthwhile venture and a great way to say hello to spring.