Starting your seeds the right way

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When it comes to gardening, gardeners are of two minds. While some gardeners prefer to buy young seedlings and transplant them in the garden, other gardeners prefer the control and the sense of accomplishment that comes with planting flowers and plants directly from seeds. 

Planting from seed has a lot to recommend it.  For one thing, although transplanting seedlings can provide a good head start for the gardener, it can also introduce problems like disease or insect infestation to an established garden plot. 

Planting from seed helps gardeners to avoid these problems.  It is not difficult to plant from seed, but it is vital to read and follow the instructions on the seed packet for best results.  As with other types of gardening, it is important to follow the instructions carefully.  It is also important to protect the seeds and the delicate seedlings as they grow.

Whenever you plant seeds, it is a good idea to use a quality growing tray.  It is important to choose the right growing tray, and you can get recommendations from your local nursery or garden center on the best type of tray for your needs.  After you have the tray and the seeds in hand, the next step is to fill that growing tray with a high quality seed mixture.  This type of product is also called a seed starting mix, and it is similar in consistency to potting soil.  Another advantage of the seed starting mix is that it is sterile, and free of diseases and garden pests.

After the growing tray has been prepared, the seeds should then be placed in the seed starting mix.  The rule of thumb when planting seeds is to plant them at least twice their own depth.  In some cases, such as with very small seeds, you may want to simply dust the seeds with a light coating of seed mix, since if they are buried too deep they may not be able to sprout.

After the seeds have been planted in the tray, they should be labeled, using either sticks printed with a waterproof marker or actual nursery labels.  Do not use the seed packets as labels, since they will quickly disintegrate from moisture as the seeds are watered.

Only a misting sprayer should be used to provide water to the newly planted seeds.  If you use a hose or watering can, you could inadvertently dislodge the seed medium or uncover the seeds.  The growing tray should be covered in order to prevent the moisture from evaporating.  A covered tray will also encourage the germination of the seeds.

Another thing that can speed up the germination of newly planted seeds is heat.  Heat has been shown to speed up the germination of seeds, and this is a technique used by many successful gardeners.  Another favorite technique ofgardeners is to use a bell jar to protect delicate seedlings from late frost.  If bell jars cannot be found, a regular water bottle with the bottom cut off makes a good replacement.

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