There are a number of reasons to grow plants from seed. First of all, you can get a more diverse selection rather than opting for the few basic plants for sale at the local nursery. You can select from more obscure heirloom varieties and seeds that are organic.
It can also be less expensive to start your plants from seed, especially if you are starting them from seeds you or friends have saved. Lastly, it’s extremely gratifying to watch the emerging seedlings appear and grow to fruition.
What you need?
Starting your own seeds is a simple process requiring only a few materials. You will need:
Clean containers with drainage holes (They may be plastic pots, trays or peat trays.)
Soilless planting medium
A waterproof, soil heating germination mat or cable
Waterproof ink and labels
Misting water bottle
Bamboo skewer (or the like) to make holes for the seeds
Time to plant!
Now that you have assembled your materials, it’s time to plant the seeds. Moisten the growing medium until it is wet but not soggy. Fill the containers to within ¼ inch of the rim with the wet soilless mix. Allow any excess water to drain from the containers and tamp the soilless mix down lightly.
How to plant?
Poke small holes into the medium in rows that are an inch apart using the bamboo skewer. A general rule of thumb is that the holes should be 1-2 times the diameter of the seeds.
Gently press the seed into the holes or, if they are really tiny, lightly sprinkle along a row. If the seed is very tiny, there is no need to cover it with the medium. If the seeds are a larger, just barely cover them.
Keep the seed moist
Place the container of seeds in a warm area with good light or set up under a grow light. Keep the seeds moist by misting with a spray bottle or create a mini greenhouse using a sealed plastic bag and small stakes (more bamboo skewers).
If you use a mini greenhouse, you won’t need to water the seeds until they germinate, at which time remove the greenhouse. You will now need to water the flat to keep it moist as the seedlings grow.
Some seeds need special attention prior to sowing, such as scarification, stratification or soaking, but for the most part, the above guidelines are the basics for successful seed starting.