Nothing gets me inspired for spring gardening like seed starting. There’s something grounding about handling potting soil after a long winter and delicately placing small seeds in containers to grow. It’s the epitome of hope. But seed starting is more than just faith. There are methods to successful seed starting. While many gardeners already have their pots sown and seedings up under lights, there is some maintenance work to keep them growing strong until it’s time to pop them into the soil.
- Water– I used to be a top watered. Anytime I watered tender seedlings they would flop over or get dislodged from the force of the spray. Then I got religion and learned the benefits of bottom watering. By placing my container on a self-watering mat in a basin of water, the water evenly soaks from the mat to the dry soil with less disturbance of the seedling.
- Fertilizer– Everybody has got to eat, especially young seedlings. Instead of feeding your young seedlings a liquid chemical fertilizer that’s the equivalent of a Red Bull, try giving them a gentle, organic fertilizer that slowly releases nutrients into the soil so the plant roots can take them up as needed. I like worm poop liquid fertilizer for its odorless, quick-acting nitrogen content and the fact that it comes from worms castings!
- Finishing Pots– Large seedlings, such as tomatoes and peppers, often are started in trays or small pots and have to be transplanted into larger pots before going into the garden. This transplanting is to keep the seedlings growing strong. These pots naturally air prune the plant roots so the vigorous seedling doesn’t get root-bound. When it’s time to transplant, simply peel the pots and lay down the pot sides without harming the roots and place this healthy transplant into the soil.