Growing plants from seeds is an rewarding experience and you can’t beat the cost savings. When growing nursery grown plants, you are limited on your choices of varieties. Planting the seeds and watching them grow big enough to transplant into the garden gives big sense of accomplishment when you are able to harvest what you grow. Here are a few how to start seedlings tips and tricks.
Start with Great Seeds
Not all seeds are created equal. There are seed companies that specialize in different regions and others cover all of the plant zones. For instance, has Southwestern Heirloom varieties that grow amazingly well in the heat of the desert. Botanical Gardens, Territorial Seed, High Mowing Organic Seeds and, in Canada, West Coast Seeds are companies that has seeds with great germination rates. Look at the varieties that work best in your planting zone (find your Canadian zone here OR US zone here), or ones that you would love to try. This Canadian regional planting chart can help you decide what to plant in your garden.
Some of my favourite seeds to plant each year are:
- Green and Yellow Beans
- Cherry and Beefsteak Tomatoes
- Yellow and Green Zucchini
- Snap Peas and Shelling Peas
- Patio Cucumbers and Pickling Cucumbers
- Honey and Cream Corn
How to Start Seedlings – Soil Matters
Seedlings are susceptible to different fungus and diseases that will kill them off. Having with a sterile seedling mix is a must. You can also start in a mix of peat moss, Earthworm Castings, and perlite. Do not use regular garden soil or potting soil as it still has decaying matter in it that most seeds will not grow in. You can sow in just earthworm castings, which is a tad more expensive than regular seedling mix, but is amazing when learning how to start seedlings.
When planting more than few seedlings, use Seedling Starter Trays for Seed Germination with Dome. Unless you have a large planting area, you might not want to sow all the seeds in the packet. Start with six seeds per plant variety unless you plan on giving away or canning your veggies at the end of the season! If you aren’t planting a ton of seeds, you can go old school and use a cardboard egg carton. That way once the seedlings are 4 inches tall, you can separate out the cells and plant the whole thing into the garden.
When to Sow Directly into the Garden
Quite a few seedlings do not like to be grown in seedling trays and transplanted in the garden. A good rule of thumb is anything that is a root vegetable must be sown directly into your garden bed. For instance: Carrots, Beets, radishes, turnips, Parsnips, or potatoes need to be seeded into the garden. On the seed packet it will state whether you can start the plant indoors or outside, each variety is different. When planting directly into your garden or in a raised bed, add a couple cups of Earthworm Castings, plus a cup of Bone Meal and Bloom Meal to the soil. This gives your new seeds and transplants the fertilizer they need to grow big and strong.
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