Are you dreaming of the perfect cut flower or vegetable garden? Start your dream garden by growing veggies, herbs or flowers from seed by following these tips.
When selecting seeds, keep in mind the size of your garden and the lighting conditions in your home. On the back of seed packets, you’ll find a description of the flower, vegetable or herb, when to sow indoors, how long it takes to germinate, and when you can sow the seeds outdoors once the risk of frost has passed.
Now that you’ve selected your seeds, it’s time to get the proper supplies.
What You’ll Need
You’ll want to have peat pots, a soilless soil mixture, a spray mister, and potentially a grow light or heating mat, depending on the lighting conditions in your home.
Jiffy Peat Pots are sold in sizes from 2” all the way up to an 8” pot. Start with the smallest size first; this will allow the seedlings to get started off strong from germination stage and not drown in a large pot with too much soil or moisture.
As seedlings mature, the key is to move them up in container size, supporting the growth of both root development and sturdy leaves. These pots decompose naturally and don’t need to be removed.
Soilless Soil Mixture is a light, airy soil made up of peat moss and perlite. Most seedling soils are considered soilless because they contain no actual soil or compost. The mixture allows air to flow around seeds and water to easily be absorbed by the soil particles to offer ideal growing conditions.
A spray mister, grow lights, and heating mat are among the other supplies you may need when starting your seeds. New seedlings require sunlight, and homes don’t always have a good south facing window available to us where we want to set up a table of seedlings to grow.
Invest in a T5 6500K full spectrum grow light where seedlings can grow. They will get all the benefits of a south facing window in the house when on for a minimum of six hours a day.
The use of seedling heating mats can be used to help jump-start seed germination faster in a colder room of the house. This minimal heat helps protect new fragile roots while also encouraging growth like the natural sun.
Water and Fertilizing
Having a mister is useful because when plants are small, they don’t want to be drowning in water. A basic watering can delivers too much water to new seedlings, leading to the possibility of drowning the seeds. The water can also disturb the soil, causing the seeds to wash away.
The top layers of the soil can be misted during the first four weeks of growth. This is also the time you can use a seedling fertilizer 10-52-10 in a half dilution of what is expressed on the container to give your seedlings a boost of nutrients as they continue to grow.
Keep an eye on watering, as seedlings do require more watering during this stage of development.
Once the weather begins to stay consistently warm (10-13 °C) you can bring seedlings outside during the day in a partial shade area (full sun will burn new seedlings) and bring indoors for the evening. This will begin to harden off seedlings to cooler temperatures, as well as get them accustomed to more intense sunlight.
When evening temperatures are steadying around 8-10°C and the risk of frost is gone, seedlings can be kept outside and planted into the garden.
Sit Back and Enjoy
After you’ve planted and packed away supplies, it’s time to sit back and enjoy the benefits of your project.
Try making your own summer drinks with homegrown herbs.
By: Ben Hayes (Sheridan Nurseries Etobicoke) & Kayla-Jane Barrie