I have only been growing veggies and herbs for a short time. I have discovered that there is a lot to learn. I remember starting out I thought I needed some seeds and a pot and some water. I have only been able to grow one thing successfully. It was parsley if you are curious. Rarely do I grow from seed anymore. I typically buy transplants from the nursery. However, I recently went to a free gardening class where I learned the steps to starting seeds. So, I am sharing what I learned to help you learn how to start your own.
Fill clean containers with damp seed starting medium.
Sow the seeds so they are covered 3 times their diameter. Do not pack it down.
Mark your containers. If you are sowing several types of seed. label each container with the variety of seeds and the date planted. Just do it. You may forget down the road which is which, so it’s best to label them when you start them.
Cover the containers with the plastic cover that came with the tray, or use plastic wrap. Do not overwater. You don’t typically can water once you see tiny sprouts. Soggy soil can promote the fungal disease called damping off, that will kill seedlings.
Adjust your grow lights so that they are about 2 inches above the plastic cover. Set a timer to come on for 16 hours, and let the plant “sleep” for the rest of the 8 hours.
Watch for the seedlings to grow their second set of leaves. These are the plants true leaves. Thin the seedlings out to encourage growth amongst the stronger seedlings. They need to room to grow. Ideally, you want to leave 1 seedling to allow enough space to dig out the plant separately when you transplant them.
Fertilize seedlings only after they develop 3 true leaves. Feed only after watering to avoid fertilizer burn.
Transplant seedlings when their roots are poking through the bottom of the peat pots. For seedlings in trays, try to wait and grow as long as possible before you transplant. The stronger your seedlings, the better your success with stepping your game up from buying transplants at the stores to growing your own from seed.