With the economy uncertain and supply chain disruption causing concern for many Americans, one way to fight this uncertainty is by starting a home garden, whether it’s a shared plot in the community, a space in your backyard or even just a few plants on your patio, balcony or windowsill. One of the least expensive ways to start plants is by planting seeds, but how does it work? Is there a right or wrong way? Here’s a quick overview to help you get started.
How to Start Seeds for Your Garden
When working with a particularly nervous horticulture student who wanted to know exactly how to plant seeds, I had a pretty simple answer. In nature, seeds fall on the soil and, given the right conditions, they just grow. It’s literally that simple, but let’s take a look at the necessary conditions.
First, your soil. You’ll want soil that is capable of holding moisture and nutrients. You’ll need to contain it in something, whether that’s a plastic pot, biodegradable egg carton or something as simple as a relatively intact eggshell for calcium-hungry nightshades.
Next is moisture. Many people find it much simpler to add water to the soil prior to planting, as dry soil tends to float up and create a mess, displacing your seeds. You can mix the soil and water in a separate container or add water in small quantities to the top of the filled planters.
The seed is the central part of the process. Generally speaking, most seeds do well being planted to the seed’s diameter, so a corn seed that is about a quarter inch in size will be planted below a quarter inch of soil. For very fine seeds, such as some herbs in the mint family, as well as lettuce, simply pressing the seed into the surface of the soil will suffice.
Once the seeds are planted, keep them warm, moist and exposed to light to get them to sprout. If you don’t have a great deal of light in the area where you’re starting seeds, you could add a grow light to help the process along. Many seeds, such as lettuce, require light to sprout successfully.
If you’re having issues with the soil surface drying out, you could use a spray bottle cranked down to produce a fine mist to help keep your seeds moist, or you could add a layer of plastic wrap over the surface, held away from the soil surface with small sticks or similar props at the edge of your container. However, it’s important to remove the cover when seedlings emerge to avoid dampening-off, a fungal disease that can kill your seedlings.
Once your seedlings have reached 4-6” in height, you can start transplanting them to a larger pot or your garden and can start fertilizing them. If you need help finding the right materials for your garden, Redbud Soil Company is ready to help. Reach out today to get started