Seed Starter FAQ – Everything You Need to Know About Seed StartersJuly 24, 2019
Last modified: October 15, 2019Whether an expert or novice gardener, it is a delight to watch a plant grow from seed to harvest. Here's how you can know more about starting seeds indoors.
Whether you are a novice or seasoned gardener, it is a delight to watch a plant grow in your care from seed to harvest. Starting seeds indoors is also a great way to begin growing your plants earlier in the season.
In this activity, seed starters play a major role. So to help you get a better grasp at how these seedling trays work, our gardeners have answered all of your frequently asked questions:
1. What are seed starters?
Seed starters are a tool in the garden designed to hold multiple seeds — from the stage of germination until the seedlings are ready to be transplanted. Most of these seed-starting kits come in the form of a tray to ensure that each seed grows well and gets better nutrients, eliminating the need to transplant them multiple times.
Seed starters are mostly made of plastic — designed to contain multiple small cups perfectly sized for each seedling. Aside from merely keeping the seeds contained, some trays come with a dome that helps maximise humidity levels, while others include heating pads that help speed up the process of germination.
Despite the availability of various seed starting trays in the market, you can apply a lot of DIY ideas to save yourself a penny and be eco-friendly. Some of the alternatives you can find at home are egg cartons, newspapers and even toilet paper tubes.
You can also consider some plant pot alternatives once your seedlings are ready for transplant.
2. Why are seed starters good for your seedlings?
Starting seeds indoors and on your own comes with a lot of benefits. First, you can grow hard-to-find varieties of plants if you grow them from seeds. You will more likely find these varieties at your local garden centre in the form of seeds than in seedlings.
You can also save money by doing so — a single plant can cost a lot more than an entire pack of seeds. Nurturing a little patch of plants indoors using seed starters can be a rewarding activity too since you can watch them develop from seed to harvest.
You can provide your plants with proper nourishment and ensure that they are grown chemical-free.
3. What seeds can you sow indoors?
If you haven’t tried to sow your own seeds before, it is best to begin with easy and reliable plants. You can buy pepper, basil, tomato, marigold (one of the fastest-growing flower seeds), zinnia and cosmos seeds for your first batch of plants since they quickly germinate and grow.
Once you have learned how to start these seeds, you can begin working with the more challenging plants.
4. When should seeds be sown?
Starting seeds indoors should be perfectly timed. Your goal is to grow them to their ideal size for transplanting, at the proper time. In planning when to sow your seeds, consider and research on these things:
- the average date of your last spring frost
- whether the plant requires warm or cold growing condition;
- how fast the seed germinates and grows
5. What is the best potting mix recipe for seed starters?
If you are wondering why garden soil is bad for seed starters, it is because this type of dirt tends to drain poorly, especially when used in small seeding trays. It can also foster disease organisms that can kill young seedlings.
The perfect soil in starting seeds indoors should be a formulated mix, which you can avail from the market or create on your own. Here are the requirements for the best potting mix recipe:
- must not be too high in nutrients since this could harm delicate seedlings
- should hold onto moisture well without being soggy (extremely wet conditions can rot seeds and harbour fungal diseases);
- should be a soilless starting mix to promote good, healthy and happy seedlings.
In creating a formula on your own, you can start by adding two parts of compost as your base. You should measure every part of your mix by volume, so it’s important to be consistent regardless of the instrument you use.
Your compost recipe will slowly release nutrients into the mix, helping to feed seedling as they grow. Make sure to break up clumps with your hands or screen or sieve the compost to create fine and even texture.