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Starting Seeds In Spring? Seeds are nature's surprise packages. If you want to start your plants from seed this year, here are some tips that you should keep in mind. The picturesque potting shed days are romantic history, and few of us are lucky enough to have a greenhouse. This probably means that your seed sprouting efforts will be conducted using a sunny window.
Top Tips to Starting Seeds In Spring
Starting Seeds In Spring: Give Your Seeds the Basics
The good news is that plants don't care if their surroundings are picture-perfect or not. They need good soil, regular watering, and eight hours of sunlight on most days to get a good start in life. If you can supply these three things and a spot that stays relatively warm at night (the warmer, the better), you're on your way to producing a viable crop of seedlings for spring planting. If you don't think you can give your seeds enough light, supplement with grow lamps to make up the shortfall.
Depending on where you are in the world, you may be starting to think about your spring garden by the beginning of February. Seed catalogs start arriving right after Christmas, and planting your seeds indoors in late February or early March will give your seedlings a good protective period to develop healthy starter leaves and stems for spring transplantation.
Count Back From the Last Frost to Determine When to Plant
Determine when the last frost will probably occur in your area and use that to decide when to start specific plant seeds. Germination times vary, so read the information on the seed packets. Unique varieties will sometimes have unexpected requirements, so read the packets carefully for planting recommendations, tips, and cautions.
Seeds Offer Variety and Diversity
When you start your garden from seed, many more varieties of plants are available to you than can be found at your local garden shop. For some folks, this is like being turned loose in a candy store. It's exciting to grow striped tomatoes, round zucchini, or bushes of basil with leaves no larger than a fingernail. Be careful, though. Your local outlets know what will work in your area. If you research yourself, be thorough, and understand the growing conditions that will limit your choices before you start planning your garden.
Starting Seeds In Spring: Seed Considerations
To ensure success, pick the freshest seeds that you can find. It's tempting to use old seeds rather than pitch them. Still, germination rates typically go down as seeds age, so avoid disappointment by using seeds that will give you the most significant opportunity for success. If you insist on using older seeds, try germinating them in damp paper towels, then place them in a growing medium if they germinate. This is one way you can save space that would otherwise be used by potential duds.
If you store seeds from year to year, try keeping them in sealed envelopes in a cool, dry place. To avoid confusion, keep good records of the seed varieties you are using.
Nourish Your Seeds
As your seeds sprout, give them half-strength fertilizer to keep them full and compact. Undernourished plants and plants that aren't getting enough sun start to get leggy, so adjust the light and nutrition if your seedlings begin to look pale and elongated.
Seeds need an even and regular source of moisture. Until they germinate, cover pots with plastic wrap and check them daily. If you need to water them, place their container in a saucer of water, or use a fine spray, handheld spritzer.
Hardening Off Your Seedlings
The week before you are ready to put your plants outside in their beds, harden them off by removing plastic wrap or clear lids and placing the seedlings on your deck or patio for a few hours each day. Start them in the shade on a mild day, and then move them into the sun in stages. After a week, they should be ready to plant in your garden.
There is a particular satisfaction in planting your vegetable or flower garden from seed. With a little care and some time, you'll be amazed at how easy and satisfying the whole process is. Oh, and when you see everything flowering and healthy, you'll be hooked for life.