Starting Plants from Seed Adds to the Pleasure

Starting Plants from Seed Adds to the Pleasure

Growing flowers and vegetables from seeds is a great activity, especially if you can no longer wait to stain your hands until spring. It is an inexpensive project, a great joyfull for the whole family, and the variety of seeds available from a variety of sources far exceeds what you can find on site.

It usually takes six to eight weeks for plants grown from seeds to be ready to be planted outdoors. If you plant the seeds inside, you will have better control over the environment and will be able to calculate the planting time so that they are not exposed to frost, which could ruin the tender shoots.

Seed trays can be purchased, but ordinary household items are just as effective as small cups or bowls. I like the plastic containers that you buy at the supermarket or at the restaurant to take away. They have a transparent plastic lid, which is ideal for monitoring the cooking process and keeping moisture inside.

When planting, use a starting mixture of “bottomless” seeds. You can prepare it yourself or buy ready-made products at any garden center. These mixtures are light and sterile. They usually consist of a combination of peat moss, perlite and vermiculite. Avoid using garden soil. It is too heavy for tender seedlings, and the soil contains pathogenic microorganisms that can damage your plants.

When sowing, moisten the mixture beforehand so that the water does not interfere with the seeds after planting. It should be the moisture of a damp sponge. Provided that the container or pallet remains closed, the mixture must contain all the moisture that the seeds need to germinate. However, not all seeds have the same germination requirements, so it is best to pay attention to the instructions on the seed packaging or elsewhere for more information.

Then cover the trays with a plastic cover that allows light to pass through, but retains moisture. Plastic bags fit well. With sufficient humidity, condensation will form in such a tent or blanket.

Additional lighting is important for better growth. A simple shop lamp, which consists of two fluorescent tubes with 40 watts each, is ideal and very inexpensive. Place the tray or containers under the light source and position it directly above the lid of the container. The lighting should burn for about 16 hours every day.

Watch for seeds every day. As soon as you notice that they are germinating, remove the lid. Too much retained moisture can lead to rotten plants. If you put a small fan nearby to move the air on the ground, you can protect new seedlings from health issues.

Finally, add water as needed so that the soil remains moist, but not overmoistened. After removing the protection, the soil tends to dry faster. Be sure to increase the lighting by keeping it one or two centimeters from the tips of your sprouts. In about six weeks the seedlings will be ready for planting in the garden.

Growing seeds at home is another element of gardening, which I find to be an exciting and great activity when there is not much going on in the garden. As a bonus, you reward your plants with months of bright flowers, fresh produce and the satisfaction of knowing that you have contributed to it.

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