Seed Starting Tips from a Horticulturist


so today we’re going to be planting some
seeds indoors to transfer it into our garden and that’s because spring is
right around the corner so this is a great activity and when we plant these
seeds and they become transplants they’re really beneficial because a lot
of times they will produce sooner and flower earlier then seeds that were just
sewn directly into our garden it’s also very economical and a little bit cheaper
to go ahead and plant directly from seeds because you’re not buying those
expensive transplants from garden centers so the first tip is to start
with really high quality seeds you want to purchase them from a place that
specializes in plants so garden centers nurseries even ordering them from seed
catalogs is a really great idea if you need help picking out seeds a really
great resource that K-State has is the recommended vegetable varieties and
these are vegetables that have been trialed and tested by K-State so they’re
proven to do well in our Kansas weather when we’re starting transplants indoors
some crops work better than others so if you want to plant tomatoes and peppers
herbs things like that that’s great to get started indoors so the second thing
you want to think about is when you’re gonna plant your seeds you need to think
about the timing of when you’re starting your seeds indoors and then when you’re
going to put them out in your garden so you need to know the last frost date or
around when you’re gonna start planting your garden today we’re gonna be planting
herbs so I’m gonna be thinking about putting them outside around the
beginning of May and to grow them into a healthy transplant it’s gonna take about
six to eight weeks so if I want to look at a calendar it’s easy to look around
the beginning of May and then count backwards about six to eight weeks and
then you’ll be able to figure out when you want to start them indoors and
that’s a great time to plant your seeds and then think about letting them grow
until they are able to go outside and it’s warm like springtime so the third
tip is to figure out what you want to plant your seeds in and today we’re
going to be using a really nice seed starting system so you can buy these
systems at garden stores and other places they come in lots of different
types and usually they’re little pellets that you just moisten and then you
can go ahead and plant seeds in them so these are really handy but you don’t
have to use them you can use anything really to start seeds you can even use
egg cartons you can make little cups out of newspaper or toilet paper rolls you
can even recycle things like yogurt cups and plant your seeds in cups like this
if you’re doing that though make sure you use a high quality soil so don’t
just get some soil out of your garden but buy a nice seed starting mix from a
garden center and use that in your cups so tip number four is to be sure to read
the seed packet very carefully and follow all the instructions on the back
so when you’re planting them if you want to start off with media that’s already
been moistened if you are using this seed starting mix make sure you get it
wet before you put it into your pots and then we’re just gonna fill each little
cell with about two to three seeds so an easy way to make a little hole is to use
a pencil and create a little hole in the middle of each cell and our seed packet
says to plant them about 1/4 inch deep so I’m going to take about 2 to 3 seeds
plant them down in our little hole that we made and then you can just go back
and kind of cover them up to create that 1/4 inch deep another tip is you can
plant them about two times deep as they are wide so these herb seeds are not
very big so you don’t have to plant them very deep so once you’ve planted all
your seeds you want to go ahead and put the lid on them or if you don’t have a
nice kit like this you can just put some plastic wrap on top of them and this is
going to create a really humid environment inside of there so it’s kind
of creating a little greenhouse effect because these seedlings like a lot of
humidity it’s also going to cut down on the amount of water you have to put in
and then you want to give them a lot of light once they pop up so you can either
put them in a strong south-facing window or give them some artificial
light it doesn’t have to be a fancy grow light just even a shop light works
really well and then the temperature of the room you want it to be about 65 to
70 degrees so that your seedlings are really happy so the next tip is about
transplanting your little seedlings and once they started to grow the roots will
fill up this whole cell pack so once they filled that up and you have a
little seedling you can go ahead and transplant them so you can put them in a
bigger pot and keep growing them indoors or if you have pretty big cell packs you
can just leave them in the cell pack and then keep them in that until spring so
seeds are really fun to start before spring gets here you can find a lot of
variety and seeds they’re cheap and easy to do so if you have any questions
contact your local Extension Office

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