While growing mature plants from nurseries or garden stores can help you skip the initial stages of plant growth, the joy and excitement of watching the seeds sprout and grow into healthy seedlings can be even more satisfying.
Many plant enthusiasts face problems with growing seeds like slow seed germination, seed rot before sprouting, and leggy seedlings, to name a few. To eliminate such problems, certain precautions can be taken for planting seeds the right way.
Following are 10 steps to grow plants from seeds for a high harvest and healthy growth:
1. Select seeds:
Certain seeds grow best in particular weather conditions and seasons. To yield optimum results you can follow the instructions on the back of the seed packets or the company descriptions provided for the seeds.
Some vegetable seeds such as beans, cucumber, squash, and tomatoes grow well outdoors during summer. Flower seeds like marigold, begonias, and sunflowers also flourish outdoors. You can choose the seeds accordingly and plant them at the right time for successful germination.
Buying good-quality branded seeds can also help in achieving a high germination rate. Often bad seeds can be the result of poor packaging material. Purchasing them from a trusted company can ensure the seeds within the packets are protected from moisture and humidity.
2. Keep sterile seed starting trays:
It is vital to ensure that the pots, containers, or seed starting trays used for sowing be kept sterile. This helps eliminate diseases, fungal attacks, or molds from affecting the seeds or seedlings. For this, you can use store-bought disinfect solutions or clean them with bleach diluted in water.
Keeping the garden supplies clean and sterile can help protect delicate seeds to grow into healthy seedlings during germination.
Including drainage holes in seed starting trays, containers or pots is also important. Drainage holes can help excess water to escape and keep the soil moist for seeds to sprout.
3. Prepare seed starting soil mix:
Soil is one of the important components for plants to thrive. Preparing soil with nutrient-enriched compositions can not only boost plant growth but can also help in starting seeds.
If you are looking to make your DIY seed starting soil mix, you can include 20% garden soil, 40% cocopeat, and 40% compost. But for certain seed varieties, garden soil may be too heavy and can contain weeds and other external components that can cause fungal attacks or diseases.
For this, you can use commercially available store-bought seed starting soil mix. This composition is ready to use soil mix, that’s preferred by many plant enthusiasts and garden beginners.
4. Sowing seeds and spacing:
Seeds should be properly spaced to avoid excessive crowding. An equal gap between each seed can ensure they have enough area to grow strong shoots that can withstand climatic conditions when transplanted outdoors. You can also go for store-bought garden supplies like seed starting trays or pots that come with individual compartments for sowing seeds.
A thin layer of the same seed starting soil mix can be used to cover the seeds once it’s planted.
The golden rule that can be used to decide the amount used for soil cover can be through the thickness of the seeds. You can follow the simple trick of covering soil twice as much as the thickness of the seeds. This can ensure that the seeds are uniformly covered.
Once the job is done, you can water them lightly through a spray bottle. Make sure to not water the seeds directly, as it can disrupt the seed spacing or remove the top soil cover.
5. Covering the seeds:
Covering the seed starting trays, containers or pots can help retain heat and moisture. You can use any plastic covering, as long as it doesn’t come in contact with the soil containing your precious seeds.
For plant beginners, there are various kinds of garden supplies that provide ready-to-use seed starting kits which come with a covering or a dome that acts as an enclosed ecosystem for seeds.
Looking for such seed starting kits? At Seed World Marketplace we offer garden supplies such as Cell Seed Starter Tray, Seed Starter Propagation Kit Tray, and Humidity Cloning Tray Propagation Dome for plants/seeds.
6. Dark and warm location:
Most of the seeds cannot germinate in cold or cool temperatures; they require a dark and warm location that can propel the germination process. For cell division to take place in seeds, the soil must be warm and damp for it to sprout.
If the temperature is too cold the germination may slow, and if it’s too warm the seeds may end up dying. Thus, maintaining proper temperatures can yield good germination results. Seeds can germinate at an ideal soil temperature between 70-80 degrees and humidity ranging from 50%-60%, depending on the seed variety.
7. Sufficient watering:
A common mistake made while growing plants from seeds are, overwatering or not watering them enough. Seeds tend to grow well in dark, damp, and warm conditions.
Seeds need to be watered once every day, depending on the climate. If your location receives intense heat, water the seeds 3-5 times a day. Keep in check that the soil is not left dry for too long and is always kept moist.
The best method to water seeds/seedlings without worrying about stagnant water is watering them from the bottom. Place a tray under the seed starting pots or containers and fill water for about 1/4inch. Make frequent checks to ensure that the soil is absorbing the water accordingly.
8. Providing sunlight:
Once the seeds have germinated, you can remove the covering or dome. The next crucial step for growing plants from seeds is providing sunlight. Growing seedlings under sunlight or bright light can help them grow faster and also develop stronger stems and roots.
Depending on the seed type, you can place the seedlings towards a south-facing window for about 5-6 hours of bright light or place them outdoors under direct sunlight. You can gradually increase the hours of sunlight every day to 14-16 hours.
During this time, you can make sure to always keep the soil moist by spraying water, so that the seedlings don’t dry out and wither.
Though most seedlings flourish under sunlight, plants like Chinese evergreen, monstera, lucky bamboo, etc., can grow without sunlight. You can follow the instructions on the back of the seed packets to grow seeds as required.
9. Apply fertilizers:
You can apply fertilizers/fungicides when the seedlings have a grown few leaves. By doing so, you can avoid fungal attacks and pests from damaging your seedlings. In the initial stages, you can administer diluted fertilizers sparely every week. After a few weeks, once the seedlings have adapted, you can start with the standard fertilizers until they can be planted in the soil permanently.
10. Planting the seeds:
Once every step is completed and your seedlings have hardened off to the external environment, you can transfer them directly to your place of choice. Depending on the seed varieties, you can plant them outdoors in the garden or indoors. For example, vegetable seeds like tomatoes, cucumbers, beans, and many alike can be grown under direct sunlight in the garden. Flower seeds like hibiscus, sunflower, lotus, etc., can also be grown outdoors.
With these simple steps, you can not only successfully germinate and grow your seeds into plants but also watch them thrive and harvest bountiful fruits and vegetables year after year.