18 March, 2013

GARDENING ADVENTURES {seed starting tips}

It has been a quiet week here on the blog but I've been keeping busy coming up with DIYs and tutorials for Easter/Spring decor week. I've been also watching my seedlings grow and today I want to share some tips and tricks for seed starting.

1. Seedlings require warm, moist environment; conditions that are also favorable for mildew and even rot. To avoid mildew growth on seedling containers and soil sprinkle some cinnamon. It is harmless for plants and will keep your environment mildew-free.

2. Provide adequate ventilation for your seedlings; it helps them to grow and prevents mildew.  Some gardeners install a small fan to ensure constant air circulation around young plants. Air movement helps to strengthen stems so if you do not use a fan, make sure to blow on you seedlings once in a while. I know it sounds funny but it helps!

3. You can germinate seeds before planting. This is not necessary but it's fun and allows you to check whether your seeds will sprout. I sprout my seeds using a piece of paper towel and a resealable plastic bag.

If you want to presprout your seeds, cut a small piece of paper towel (5"x5"), mist it with water until moist but not dump, place several seeds, fold it, and put it in a bag.  Do not forget to label it! Check on your seeds every day and several days later you will have tiny seedlings.

4. Be gentle with young seedlings specially when watering. You can make a simple watering can by piercing a cap of a plastic water bottle. I also like to use a spray bottle to gently mist tender seedlings.

5. To speed up sprouting process some seeds benefit from presoaking, scaring, or stratifying.  Presoaking is good for seeds that look dried up and shriveled (like nasturtium).  I am yet to try scaring and stratifying but here is a good post about both techniques.

6. A lot of times seed packages suggest planting seeds directly outdoors.  I havent' been successful with the direct sowing method mostly because I failed to provide adequately moist environment for the seeds.  However lots of gardeners are able to get excellent results with direct sowing and I encourage you to  give it a try.

I hope these tips will help you in your gardening adventures.  Feel free to email me if you have any questions and I would love to know whether you have gardening tips to share!

Previous Gardening Adventures posts:

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