If yes, you will be able to connect to my story. Last summer, I wanted some color in my backyard so I thought of sowing some lily seeds. In addition to being great for the aesthetics of my garden, I really like lilies because of their ability to survive easily in extreme weather conditions. However, I did not know where I went wrong but mt lilis never bloomed!
This little defeat was a bit of a heartbreak considering that I love gardening but did not know the little details with sowing the seeds right! This is when I started reading up on the different tips and tricks of gardening and how to sow seeds the right way to ensure that they flourish and turn into blooming plants in your home or outside!
If at some point of time, you have suffered through the same disappointment and wish to restart your garden from scratch, I have put together the perfect guide that covers all the garden essentials to help you sowing seeds the right way early in the season. Whether you are a beginner or a seasoned gardener, I am sure that you will be able to pick up a few tried and tested tips from my book and implement them in your gardening journey.
Selection and Seed Sowing 101
The first step to sowing seeds is choosing the right seeds in addition to making well-informed decisions about containers, water, soil, light and much more. If the single most important thing that you want right now is a healthy, lush garden, you are in luck. You don’t necessarily need mad skills to start a small kitchen garden. Just knowing the essentials can get you started on the right track.
Let’s check out some basics for sowing seeds this season:
1. Choose Your Seeds Right-
You can save a whole lot of money on annuals such as herbs, flowers, and vegetables if you sow the seeds early in the season. We can also guarantee that the fruit or flower in the same year as when you sowed them. It is best that the selection and sowing of seeds are done prudently so that you don’t overreach yourself with challenging and time-consuming processes.
A good idea is to get in touch with the seed companies in your proximity because they usually sell the ideal seeds suited to the climate. However, ensure that you pick hassle-free plants if you are a beginner.
2. Read The Packet-
Make sure that you thoroughly read the instructions that are mentioned on the seed packet because they will give you the perfect start. The growing directions would generally be methodical and will list down all the things that you will need to know to start the sowing process such as where to sow, how to sow seeds in pot, how to sow seeds indoors, how to grow plants from seeds, the right temperature of the germinating seeds etc.
It would also give you an insight on how to repeat sowing, thinning and transplanting. Following the instructions to the T would be your best chance to be successful in this admirable venture.
You can start sowing seeds in just about any container you can find in the house. You can create interesting setups or a mini-greenhouse to kickstart your dream garden. There are several greenhouse kits available that come with plastic trees and clear plastic domes. They also consist of the soilless mixture for starting the process of sowing seeds. Others might come with coconut fiber pots or a heat map to improve the germination of seeds.
If you do not wish to spend a lot of money at the start, you can be creative and find household items that can pose as seed containers. This is the most inexpensive way of sowing seeds. You can even make pots from newspapers, egg cartons or toilet paper tubes that will cost you nothing. What’s great about this option is that you can turn this into a family project and also teach your kids some eco-friendly measures.
4. Growing Medium-
You can easily find a pre-made seed soil in the market or you can choose to blend two parts of compost with three parts of peat and 10% of perlite. This starter soil mixture is super light and is capable of holding the moisture well. It is a wonderful option to help in the process of germinating seeds if you are a novice at gardening.
Take note that all kinds of growing mediums need time to absorb water. Therefore, add a lot of moisture to the growing medium and let it soak all the water for at least an hour before planting. Also, ensure that you use a sterile mix in case you want to start sowing seeds indoors.
The best friend of germination is a moist environment that keeps the soil damp in addition to a greenhouse dome that retains the right amount of humidity in order to ensure optimal germination. It also keeps the soil from drying out. Always water gently from the bottom so that you do not damage the emergent seedlings.
6. Damping Off-
This term is associated with fungal growth. It looks like fuzzy hairs appearing on the step of the emerging seedling. This fungal growth will definitely kill the seedling so it is bad news for your plant. However, the good news is that you can prevent the process of damping off by occasionally spraying the seedling with 3% food-grade hydrogen peroxide. You should also consider venting the greenhouse dome regularly in order to regulate humidity. Read here about various plant pests and their identification to keep your plants healthy.
Seeds do not need any light till the time they start emerging from the soil’s surface. However, after that, they will require a fairly strong sunlight for most part of the day to ensure that they don’t become leggie. If you do not have a lot of sunlight at your home, you can supplement it with fluorescent lightning or by purchasing a set of grow lights that are meant for seed starting.
More often than not, the seed instructions will recommend you to plant only 2-3 seeds per pot, thinning out all except the strongest. This is probably the thing that most gardeners face the most issues with. For example, if one tiny peat pot has a popped up four strong tomato seedlings, the gardener will generally pull out those four seedlings and re-pot them all.
The more inexperienced ones are likely to damage every single plant, destroying all their chances at survival. The best away is to get yourself a pair of clean scissors and snip all the seedlings except the strongest one in each pot to finish the process.
9. Hardening Off-
You know it is time to start hardening off your seedlings in the great outdoors when they start growing into plants. In layman’s terms, it is time to start toughening them up for the natural environment waiting for them. I personally recommend opening a window for a few hours daily so that they get accustomed to a breeze. You can then start moving them outside, out of direct sunlight.
You can start small at an hour and gradually increase the time to a full day outside. By the time you reach your plant date, you will be able to safely transfer your tough soldiers directly into your ground with thorough watering and a delicious compost. You will now see the tough seedlings braving the outside elements on their own without any worry!
Common Mistakes While You Grow Seeds Indoors
If you are wondering how to sow seeds indoors and contemplating the things that could go wrong with this venture, here are some common mistakes that gardeners make that significantly reduce their chances of success.
1. Not Enough Light
Seedlings need an ample amount of light. The chances of seedlings growing into plants are pretty minuscule if they do not get enough light. So, ensure they get enough natural sunlight or if you can’t manage that, use artificial light such as fluorescent lights.
2. Too Little Or Too Much Water
Your seedlings are at danger if you give them too little or too much water. Watering the right way is really important. This is a challenge faced by most people when they sow seeds because of the delicate nature of seedlings. Hence, some things that you can do are water from the bottom so that you do not damage the tiny seedlings by over-watering them.
3. Starting Too Soon
Enthusiasm is a good thing but being too pepped up and sowing the seeds too early is not favourable too. All the seeds are meant to be sowed in ceratin months so that the probability of germination and growth increases. The weather and the sunlight play a major role in gardening. They change with each month. Do your reasearch well before you decide to sow your seeds. Read about stages of seed germination here.
Seed sowing is an interesting and gratifying affair. It is a magical process that makes for the perfect family project, especially one that has kids in them. You will definitely have to do a certain amount of trial and error with germinating seeds and raising seedlings so be prepared to expect some loss.
Not every seed that you sow will germinate and not every seedling that comes up will be able to survive being transplanted. Also, not every kind of plant will be able to do well in your backyard. However, the gains of this little project will be crystal clear and totally worth it when you see tiny leaves inching up your window sills,just waiting to burst outside. When you sow seeds yourself, you know that you are in charge of their well-being and overall health in addition to being able to control what goes into it. The end product is blooming plants and immense satisfaction!