Get your Grow on
So you’re anxious to get your grow on? I don’t blame you, this winter has been rough so far and it only makes us that more antsy to get out and grow some plants. Well rest assured, spring will come soon enough, and we’ll be able to get our hands dirty once more! In this blog we will discuss some basic seed growing tips and techniques for starting seeds indoors, and I’ll also let you know what types of seeds you can find at Cindy’s right now.
For those of you who aren’t sure what “Plant Hardiness Zone” Windsor/Essex is situated in, it’s now moved from 6b to 7a according to Natural Resources Canada. This basically means our region can grow warmer climate plants than say 20 years ago. Always have a look at the seed package to make sure the seeds are compatible to our zone before you plant. Here are some good tips to consider when planting from seed:
1 – Choosing Your Seeds:
Buying seeds isn’t as simple as grabbing them wherever they are cheapest. Good quality seeds are very important for successful germination, therefore getting seeds from an established producer is vital. Here at Cindy’s we carry 2 top quality seed producer’s products – OSC Seeds and West Coast Seeds. West Coast Seeds are organic and non-GMO for those of you who are looking for that. Seeds aren’t good forever so be sure to check the packaging date for sow by date on the package. Different types of seeds last longer than others, this is easy to find online.
2 – Soil:
It is very important to use the proper type of soil to achieve good germination. The best blend to use can vary depending on what you’re growing, so if you’re not sure I would suggest using a blend that’s specifically designed for planting. Planting mixes will have the proper mixture of good draining soil, nutrients and moisture retention material such as vermiculite, and you should be able to find this at your local garden center.
3 – Watering and Soil Temperature:
This is probably the most important step in successful seed germination. Believe it or not most people who have low germination rates can probably trace the cause back to watering. Seeds do not like to sit in saturated soil and overwatering is easy to do. If you use a planting soil that contains vermiculite (or similar) then let that product do its job and retain moisture naturally so you don’t have to feel like you need to continuously water. At Cindy’s when we are growing seeds we use a spray bottle or hose fitted with a fine misting sprayer to dampen the soil, this stops us from “drowning” the seeds. A good tip is to cover your seed trays with plastic, this will help retain moisture. Remove the plastic once you see sprouts. Be sure not to let your soil dry out either! Soil temperature should ideally be between 65-75 degrees Farenheit. If you are growing them in a cooler part of your house like your basement, I would advise looking into getting a heating or “propagation” mat. Again, these can be found at most garden centers.
4 – Light:
Once your seedlings (these tiny guys are called cotyledons) have broken through the soil an average rule of thumb is up to 15 hours of light per day. If you do not have that much sunlight in a day than invest in some fluorescent lights and a timer. Position lights approximately 6 inches above the top of the seedlings.
5 – When to Transplant:
I get asked all the time “when is the time right to transfer my seedlings into larger pots?” and generally I say when the seedling has 4 to 6 “true” leaves, then it’s ready to make the jump to a larger pot to develop it’s roots. It’s very important at this point still to not overwater your young plants.
At this point if you’re growing indoors then fertilize your plants at least once a week. If you’re planning on moving your seedlings outdoors then you will want to begin to “harden off” your plants. Once your roots are strong, your plants can then be “hardened off.” Move the plants outside on sunny and warm days. Bringing them inside at night will help acclimate the plants will protect them from frost and prepare them for planting. During this step, be sure to maintain the water and fertilizer regime as described above.
Come in to see our amazing selection of both regular seeds as well as Organic Non-GMO. From flowers to vegetables to herbs, we got it all!
Have fun planting your seeds & don’t forget to follow these helpful tips. Stay tuned for more tips for your garden on my next blog.