Seed to Garden Step 2: A Little TLC


While watering is important since seeds need moisture and warmth to sprout, you’ll need to find the best balance not to drown your new seedlings or create an ideal setting for mildew to grow and thrive.

Keep planted seeds moist, but not waterlogged. You should also rotate the trays or containers, because seedlings will naturally lean to the light. Give them a quarter or half turn every day to keep them growing fairly straight.

Seeds will sprout at different times.  Don’t be impatient; some seeds take several days to burst from the soil, while others seem to spout within two days and grow at an amazing and almost, alarming rate.

When watering your tender seedlings or planted seeds, use a gentle sprinkle – such as a watering can with a spray nozzle rather than a torrent of water from a pitcher.  I prefer to use a pump-style 2-gallon sprayer rather than a watering can, because of the convenience and easier handling indoors.  It also has a much finer spray and the long nozzle helps with reach.  As for water temperature, remember that warm (rather than cold), is also best for seeds.

Just a note on water sprayers.  These are handy garden tools for watering, as well as for applying liquid fertilizer to a garden bed.  They are also ideal for applying weed killer.  However, you should be very careful to not use the same sprayer for both weed killer and water/fertilizer.  I like to have two of these and they are quite different in look and size, to avoid mixing them up.
Check prices of sprayers, watering cans

Do you have a few seeds that still show no signs of sprouting? After two weeks, I’m still waiting for several perennial varieties and that’s quite common. My zucchini and cukes on the hand, are showing an eagerness to get to the garden. Have patience and just continue to water, rotate and keep them in a sunny window area.

Besides planting seeds in peat pellets and pots, I also used small reusable plastic pots which I saved from last year’s flower purchases.  These are kept on black plastic nursery plant trays, also saved from previous years.  I have also started a couple of patio tubs of flower seeds.  As long as there is drainage and the item is stable enough to handle, you can plant seeds in almost any type of recycled container or purchased pots.

However, not all seedlings will remove easily from some containers.  The easiest is using plant-with-the-seedling peat pots.  Being able to plant the peat pot intact, seedling roots are not disturbed and that gives them a quicker, cleaner start in the garden.

Go Back to Step 1: Start Seeds Indoors

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