Don’t bother buying a bunch of seed starting pots – think of reusing containers you have around your home. Single serve yoghurt containers are the perfect size for starting seeds (as are the larger containers). Try milk cartons, margarine tubs, or any plastic container around the 200-500mL size. Punch holes in the bottom to allow for proper drainage.
If you decide a heating mat is the way to go for your seed starting adventures, don’t skimp or try to find a cheap alternative! I’m all for finding cheaper methods, but heating mats are specifically designed to be on for long stretches of time, and can handle water spilt on them. Things like electric blankets or medical heating pads are not made to deal with either of these two things, which can cause a fire to start.
Seeds need warm soil to germinate properly – generally between 18°C and 23°C (65F-75F) is optimal for most seeds, but some require warmer temperatures, like peppers. Start seeds in a warm room with good air circulation, and if a seedling requires a little extra heat, give them a heating mat during germination (like these). Using a heating mat will also encourage your seeds to grow faster, larger, and with a deeper root system.
Don’t feed your seedlings until the second set of true leaves appear! Too much fertilizer on too young seeds will burn and kill them. When they get their second set of true leaves, dilute fertilizer by half and water as normal.
We’re back in action with the seed tip of the week. Check back every Sunday for a new tip!
Think coir (or coconut husk) instead of peat for seed starting. Coir is more environmentally sustainable, contains trace nutrients (as where peat does not), has a neutral pH (peat is acidic), and moulds far less often than peat.