I think hubby was fearful that I was going to try and "repurpose" his workshop shelves...I had threatened to steal his workshop lights. So tada! Greenhouse gift! And just in the nick of time too... It's finally time to start my peppers! As I've admitted I have had difficulty with seeds before. Matter of fact, my three year old was "helping" to assemble the greenhouse last night and asked, "What's this for?" Daddy answered, "For Mommy's seeds." To which she said, "Mommy's seeds don't grow!"
Seed starting can be overwhelming. And the information available tends to focus on how to start the seeds which is a pretty straight~forward task. To help improve my seedy chances this year I've ignored all that info and bought the peat pellets. I've heard good things about the pellets and am ready to give them a try. Through my research I've found these really simple starter's guide to:
Seed Survival~The Basics
Provide your seeds with the following for happy seedlings.
- Light! You have two options natural or fluorescent. For natural light place your seedlings near a sunny, southern window. Rotate your seedlings often so they don't bend over as they search for the sun. For fluorescent the key is to use a cool white bulb and to hang the fixture directly over the seeds.
- Warmth! Most seeds like a warm environment. Seeds will germinate and grow best in a 70-75 degrees Fahrenheit (21-24 degrees Celsius). After they've become little seedlings though they tend to enjoy temps between 60-70f (15-21c).
- Mositure & Humidity! Keep the germinating medium moist but never soggy. To keep moisture levels high slide your seed flats into clear plastic bags. Or cover your shelving system with clear plastic. Remove the cover as soon as seeds sprout. Check medium everyday for drying out. (TIP: Dryer medium will be lighter in color.)
- Water! As your seedlings grow they have to establish they're "feet" in the soil. Just like babies they can fall over easily. So as your tempted to grab your watering can...STOP! When you add water to the top of your planting medium your seeds/seedlings have no way of anchoring themselves into the soil and so they will "float" on the water and fall over! :( So ALWAYS water from the bottom until seedlings are quite large.
- Fertilize! I've made the mistake before of fertilizing too early so when is the best time to add those extra vitamins? After the first True leaves appear. The first leaves are food storage cells...it's those second leaves that really spell success! This is a good time to begin fertilizing with liquid soluable plant food as you bottom water your seedlings. When seedlings are very small use 1/4 of the amount of plant food directed on package. Increase to 1/2 the normal stregnth as seedlings begin to mature.
With simple steps like these I hope even seed challenged people (like myself) will find it easier to get healthy plants from those amazing little seeds.