When to Start Your Seeds and Tips on Caring for Them

seed starting

Recently I discussed starting seeds and what you could use for awesome containers.  Now I want to go a little further into the seeds themselves, when to start them, and how to care for them.

How Do You Know When To Start Your Seeds?

When To Start Seeds

All plants have different triggers to start their germination and different sprouting times.  The best way to figure this out is to look on the seed pack for the times.  Once you have figured out the times, you should make a planting schedule.  Don’t forget to consider the grown plant.  Do you want 30 squash plants to mature at the same time?  Or would it be better if 5 or 10 of them matured every week?  So in your planting, you need to consider maturity time and add that to germination time.

How to Care for Your Seeds and Seedlings

If you go to most mainstream websites, they will tell you to baby the crap out of your plants.  I agree and disagree at the same time.

You will want to keep the growing medium moist.  This is just the best way to give your plants good growth.  But if you overwater, you could drown them or cause their root growth to be stunted and allow rot to set in.
Generally, seeds germinate best around 78 degrees F, but some like 60F and others like 85F, once again, quick research will tell you.  Once germination is complete, then plants prefer to be below 70F.  I don’t really believe in the “babying method” here because your plants will go into shock when they go into the ground.
What I prefer to do is to give the plants actual sunlight and actual swinging temperatures outside.  They will need less adaptation when you place them in the ground and will be shocked much less.
Don’t over exert the plants.  The temperatures and sun can and will kill the seedlings if you forget them.  They are not in the ground, they are in a pot and that affects a lot.
As soon as the sprouts emerge, the plant NEEDS the sun, so either get it by a window, outside in the sun, or under a UV light within 24 hours.  They need 14 to 16 hours of direct sunlight to produce enough food to grow properly.  If you use a south facing window, you should consider a flat piece of cardboard with aluminum foil on it on the other side of the plant to reflect back escaping light.
seed starting basics
Air circulation in small rooms is beneficial, as well as 50-70% humidity.  Consider misting the seedlings with water.
It can be extremely rewarding starting your own seeds.  So get some and get started.  The experience will teach you much more than this blog.

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