Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Seed-Starting Method With Pictures

This is a step-by-step method for starting seeds that I have found to be very successful. For starting seeds that are particularly difficult to germinate, try the paper towel method that I posted last season. Your success will be greatly improved.

1. Soak peat pots in warm water for approximately 5 minutes. 2. Fill each pot with potting soil until soil is within 1 inch of the top edge. 3. Fill the rest of the pot with soilless seed-starting mix. Fill flush with the top edge of the pot.
4. Mist soil with sprayer heavily. Cover with plastic wrap. Wait a minute or two and mist again heavily. It may appear as though the peat is moist at first. It’s NOT! Check moisture with your finger. Continue to spray heavily until soilless mix is thoroughly moistened. This step takes a while. (Side note: I’ve considered soaking a bunch of soilless seed-starting mix in a small, covered container just prior to planting to speed this step up. I haven’t tried it yet, but it would ensure thorough soaking of the soil.) 5. Once starter mix is thoroughly moist, double check that the soil level is still flush with the top edge. If not the top edge will wick moisture away from your seedlings. Label your pots, and sow your seeds to the appropriate depth. 6. Place ¼” of water in tray (just enough to cover the bottom of the tray evenly).
7. Cover pots with plastic wrap to create a greenhouse and keep soil from drying out during the germination period. 8. Place tray under grow lights (or in sunny window). Make sure the pots are within an inch of the top of the plastic. 9. Check daily for germination and to make sure the peat posts don’t dry out. Maintain a thin layer of water on the bottom of the tray to keep moisture levels high under the plastic until germination.
10. Once seeds germinate, remove the plastic cover. When they need water ALWAYS water the pots from the bottom to prevent damping off.
11. Continue to keep the lights within an inch of the seedlings. Move pots around if necessary to maintain this distance. Place shorter plants on one end to increasingly taller plants on the other end. This will help maximize the efficiency of the light reaching the plants. Leaving the lights on from 7am to 7pm has worked very well for me. It provides healthy, sturdy plants.


1 comment:

  1. I have been trying different methods and this seems like the way I am going to try next year. I have had a difficult time starting peppers, and Problems with a few other things dampening off. Thanks so much for the info.