Anyone can get into seed starting! It is so super simple and most importantly it is so fun. Plus there are so many ways to do it. I broke down my easy step-by-step process in my beginner’s guide to seed starting that I wrote last year. So I wanted to add to this blog post a few helpful tips that I learned from my mistakes. And with a few helpful hacks that I am excited to try this year that I think will bring me more success.
1. The Easiest Seed Starting Watering Method
Briana at Blossom and Branch Farm had this amazing trick for watering seedlings in a matter of seconds. Which I was very impressed by because I vividly remember the hand cramping from spraying with a typical spray bottle to mist my seedlings. That process took forever and it tires out your hand rather quickly.
So she discovered that you can use a battery-powered backpack like this one from Petra Tools. It allows you to mist whole trays of seedlings in seconds. And is especially handy for hard-to-reach places. Whether you are starting seeds indoors or in a greenhouse. This tool can save you a lot of time and a lot of pain. I can’t wait to invest in one of these backpacks and give it a try.
And also when your seedlings are taking over your backyard you can use the Petra tools backpack to mist your plants with your home brewed compost tea. Which will be a great advantage if you want to help your plants thrive. So really this spray backpack is a tool you can use again and again.
2. Skip The Plastic Dome
I can’t remember where I saw this recommendation but I am so glad I saw it because it makes complete sense. Last year when I used the plastic dome to help germinate my seedlings I, later on, had trouble with algae growing on the surface. This greatly has to do with all that moisture being trapped underneath that plastic dome with nowhere to escape. It caused the algae to spore and it almost took over and killed a lot of my seedlings. So this year I am going to try it without the plastic domes and see how it works out. So far everything has been germinating very well and there are no signs of algae. If you try this out too just make sure you are misting your seedlings regularly so the soil does not dry out too fast.
3. Soil Blocking
I’ve keep hearing from a lot of farmers that soil blocking is the best way to go when it comes to starting seeds because it gives the roots air and space to grow. The roots easily get trapped in the small plastic black cells and if you don’t transfer them into a larger space at the right time you run the risk of stunting your plant’s growth if their roots get too spirally.
This is a method I hope to experiment with the coming years. I can’t do it this year because I had already bought the plastic tray well in advance. But I know since I want to pick the option that is the lowest waste possible then soil blocking will be a great seed starting method to start to master in the coming years.
4. Don’t Start Seed Starting Too Early
Know your frost date. A simple rule. Maybe for some that is. When it comes to Colorado the frost date is pretty tentative based on the unpredictable weather. We have seen frosts as late as June when our last frost date was mid-may. Which really makes growing seeds and gardens a tricky business in this state.
But knowing your frost date based on your zone is really important to pay attention to so you can plan your planting schedule properly. Sowing your seeds indoors too early can lead to a lot of wasted time and effort because it can cause the seeds to die off if they have been crammed in their little cells too long. This becomes especially tricky when you have to transfer them to larger pots with limited grow light space. So try planting your seedlings at exactly the right time based on what it says on the packet so you can avoid seeds with stunted root systems and a lot of wasted time.
5. Hardening Off
Don’t forget to harden off your seeds. Let them get used to the outside air, wind, sunshine, and elements. Starting with a few hours and gradually working up to leaving them out there permanently.
When your baby’s first start sprouting make sure you run your hands across them a few times. This trick acts like wind and helps plants build a stronger stem that can better handle a lot of environmental shock.
There are always so many amazing and useful tips when it comes to gardening. It really is a great idea to keep a garden journal so you can keep track of everything that works and everything that doesn’t. So much of gardening is experimenting. It is good to experiment with as much as possible because that is how you gradually have better and better growing seasons. I hope these seed starting hacks help lead you down the road of success so you can jumpstart to a point that skips a lot of the mistakes that I make so you can grow a beautiful garden every year. Spring is almost here! Enjoy it while it is here!