Seed Starting 101
Learn how to start your own seeds!
Supplies needed for successful seed starting.
Trays without drainage holes.
Seed blocks or seed starting trays, peat or cow pots,
Plastic domes or plastic wrap,
Watering can, mister/sprayer. I use an inexpensive Chapin sprayer from Lowes or Walmart
Heat Mats for tender annuals (may not need for cool flowers) check your seed packet for germination temperatures.
Soil for starting seedlings (regular soil or potting soil is not a good choice – poor drainage more susceptible to disease). Can mix your own.
Shelving for lights and trays
Shop Lights – 40 watts Warm and Cool Bulbs
Tub for mixing and moisten soil and making blocks.
Basic Seed Starting Mix Recipe
1 part sphagnum peat moss (or coco coir)
1 part perlite
1 part vermiculite
How to choose trays, seed blocks, starting soil, lightning, air circulation etc. for your space and needs.
You can choose any type of clean holding tray if it will hold water.
What size block/seed tray is determined for timing or size of seed. I love the metal seed
block maker from Johnny’s Seed Company. I use the 4 - 2” block maker. This allows for great root formation and no potting up. It also eliminates the waste of the traditional plastic seed trays with less root disturbance when transplanting. It can be used over and over for years and years.
Shop or grow lights (natural light creates plant stretch). I’ve started seeds in a basement with no natural light only using shop lights very successfully. I choose the size for the shelving unit that I want to hang it from. I use two 4 ft. long lights per shelf with one cool and one warm bulb per light. It covers 4 - 1020 trays with 44 2” blocks.
Plastic domes or plastic wrap will keep in moisture for seeds to germinate but should be removed when first couple of seeds pop up.
Warm room with circulation (does not need natural light) some seeds require prechilling (stratification) or a cool room to germinate.
Use an inexpensive oscillating fan for air circulation preventing soil borne diseases such as damping off disease.
Follow the instructions on the seed packet for temperature needs, depth to plant - some seeds need darkness to germinate some need full light, check out length of time to germinate/grow for transplanting out to the garden. Other great information is length of time to bloom, height and suggested spacing of plants.
Seed starting is my very favorite farm activity. I’ve started 1000’s of seeds in a small space with just the tools listed. You can too!
Choosing and starting the right seed for the time of year, for your garden space, and desired use is very important.
Join us for our Seed to Bloom to Bouquet Events to learn hands-on how to start your seeds, when to start them, and how to care for them to create a beautiful cut flower garden.