From the Desk of Ed Hume: Starting Plants from Seed

April 2, 2012 at 6:53 AM Leave a comment

In order to get a jump on the growing season, some types of seeds should be started indoors early. Starting the seeds of annuals, perennials, vegetables and herbs sometimes sounds intimidating, but believe me, it isn’t! All you need is soil, a warm spot, and the seed. Here are some basic ideas on how to go about starting seeds:

SEEDS YOU START INDOORS

Most plants you can start outside, but if you are planning to grow plants that must have warm weather, or plants that take a long time to mature, it is best to start them early indoors. Tomatoes, peppers, eggplant, celery, and herbs like basil are a few perfect examples.

SEEDS YOU SOW OUTDOORS

Always start all root crops like carrots, beets, radishes, and onions by sowing them directly into your garden. Transplanting ruins the development of root crops. Quick maturing leaf crops like lettuce, chard, and spinach sow directly into the garden. Peas, beans, and corn, are also best seeded directly into the garden.

Plus, there are countless flowers that can be directly seeded outdoors. These include nasturtiums, sunflowers, godetia, clarkia, alyssum, poppies, marigold, and pansies. Don’t waste your time seeding these indoors.

SOIL TYPE

If you’re starting seeds indoors, use sterile potting soil mix or a starting medium like vermiculite. You can use regular garden soil, but it should be sterilized first.

For those seeds you sow outdoors, take time to enrich the soil by mixing organic humus and a mild planting fertilizer with your existing soil.

SOWING THE SEED

This step is when many people make mistakes, so here are a few suggestions:

1)  Barely cover the seed with soil. In fact, there are a few species that need no cover at all, as they need light in order for the seed to germinate. Check the back of the seed packet to see how deep the seeds need be planted.

2)  Do not let the soil dry out during the germination process, but don’t keep the soil soaking wet either.

3)  If you are starting seeds indoors, keep them in a warm spot with bright light.

4)  Follow the directions on the back of the packet. Planting depth, spacing, season, and all other pertinent information will be specified there.

TRANSPLANTING

New seedlings grown indoors or young outdoor plants you have thinned can be transplanted when they are one of two inches high. Remember not to waste your time on root crops, as they will not transplant properly. If you saved the seed packet, you will find specific spacing recommendations on the back.

For more information about starting seeds, spacing, and transplanting, visit our website, http://www.humeseeds.com.

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