Tags: tips | starting | seeds | indoors

6 Tips for Starting Seeds Indoors

By Brande Plotnick   |   Thursday, 11 May 2017 04:43 PM

Starting plants from tiny seeds indoors before the arrival of spring is one of the most gratifying things you can do as a gardener. Besides the potential to save a lot of money, it is fun to watch your own healthy plants develop. Starting seeds indoors is easy with these tips.

1. Self-watering system – In order to germinate, seeds and soil need consistent moisture. Because it is all too easy to forget to water when you’re busy, a self-watering system can be invaluable, says Tomato Envy. Not only will you not need to worry about daily watering, but the system delivers the water from below for better plant health.

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2. Get the right soil – Never use ordinary garden soil, advises Gardener’s Supply, as it can contain all sorts of fungus and disease that can kill your seedlings. Instead, try a fresh sterile seed starting mix.

3. Keep seeds warm- According to Fine Gardening, most seeds germinate most reliably in soil that is between 65 and 75 degrees. If you are serious about success, try using a heat mat specifically made for starting seeds. It is placed under the containers and will gently warm the soil to optimal temperature.

4. Feed your seedlings – Most seed starting mixes contain almost no nutrients to feed your new plants. When seedlings first emerge, their first sets of leaves, called cotyledons, will feed the plant. Once the first true sets of leaves appear, you will need to feed with a diluted, half-strength liquid fertilizer, says Fine Gardening.

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5. Use a grow light and timer – While you can start seeds in a sunny windowsill, Tomato Envy says the results are more reliable and the plants are more robust when grown under a fluorescent grow light. These lights help produce sturdy plants. Set the lights on a timer so the plants get between 14 and 18 hours of light each day.

6. Harden off – Hardening off is the process by which plants are gradually acclimated to natural sunlight and the outdoors’ fluctuating temperatures before they are planted in the garden, says Fine Gardening. Place plants in direct sunlight for just a short time at first and gradually increase the time over at least a three-day period.

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Brande Plotnick is an ambitious home cook, gardener, beekeeper, writer, and speaker who started her website, Tomato Envy, to inspire others to find their deliberately decadent life at home. Brande’s down-to-earth style and approachable manner have been winning over the readers who follow her blog. Her work has been featured in Urban Farm Magazine, Natural Awakenings, Mother Earth News, and the Whole Seed Catalog.

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Starting plants from tiny seeds indoors before the arrival of spring is one of the most gratifying things you can do as a gardener. Besides the potential to save a lot of money, it is fun to watch your own healthy plants develop. Starting seeds indoors is easy with these tips.
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2017-43-11
 

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