Saturday, December 6, 2014

Seed Starting for Beginners

To make things simple, there are 2 ways to plant seeds.  The first is to direct sow.  This is  done by simply planting the seeds directly in your garden.  The second is to germinate seeds in germination trays or coconut pellets and then transplanting seedlings into your garden space.

For most seed varieties I prefer to start in Coconut Coir Pellets and then transplant into the garden.  
Basil seedlings in Coconut Coir Pellets
I do this for several reasons.  I live and grow in South Florida.  At any minute (most days) it can rain.  Sometimes it's a gentle rain and other times is a complete downpour.  These unexpected bursts of rain can last anywhere from 1 to 30 minutes.

Why does this matter?  Well, a hard rain can displace tiny seeds or seedlings.  For this reason I grow in coconut coir pellets on my patio or laundry room and then transplant into the garden.
Root crops such as Beets, Radish, Turnips and Rutabagas should be direct sown.

Animals are another reason I like to transplant.  Between the neighborhood cats, squirrels and lizards, my garden becomes a salad bar at times.  However, If i grow lush tomato seedlings under protection until they're strong enough to survive, I have a greater chance of success. 

Soak Your Seeds
Almost all seed varieties can be soaked prior to planting.  Never soak CORN.  Beans and peas should not be soaked for more than 3 hours.

Soaking your seeds will bring them to life before they are planted.  This has increased my germination rates AND the seeds tend to germinate faster.

Hard shelled seeds such as Eggplant, Peppers and Tomatoes can be soaked for 48 hours.

We've made a quick video for Seed Starting Made Simple

It Takes Time
Germination is the process by which a plant grows from a seed.  Growing plants from seeds takes time.  Each variety has an approximate germination time.  For example, Tomatoes can take 7-14 days to germinate.  Peppers can take as long as 4 weeks!!!

A simple solution to bugs, rain and space is to plant in a container.  You don't need anything fancy.  Below is a small rubbermaid bin.  I drilled small holes in the bottom, added a layer of dead leaves and then filled with organic potting soil and homemade compost.

Once you fill your bin with dirt it should be watered before you plant seeds or seedlings.  In this bin I planted seeds directly.  In a single bin I planed Lemonbalm, Basil, Swiss Chard and Little Gem Lettuce

It's that easy!

Thanks for stopping by my little spot on the web...Stay tuned for more organic gardening and health related topics.  If you have questions or suggestions please feel free to ask.

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JES said...

Thank you for sharing these tips! I really need to start soaking my seeds!! I will be pinning this!

We hope to have you join us next week on the Art of Home-Making Mondays :)

Deborah Smikle-Davis said...

Hi Mary,
These are awesome! Such a great idea! Thank you for sharing your seed starting tips with us at the Special Holiday Edition: Healthy, Happy, Green and Natural Party Blog Hop 2014! I’m pinning and sharing your wonderful post! All the best to you! Happy Holidays!

Crochet Hooks said...

Great hints, tips and directions! pinned :)

Kelly - Simple Life Mom said...

We'll definitely be starting seeds soon. Thanks for the great tip and for sharing on the Homestead Blog Hop :-)

Simple Life Mom

Marla Gates said...

Hi Mary,
I always love your helpful suggestion on planting. Thanks for providing the guidance. Visiting from Health Happy Green & Natural Blog Hop.