Wednesday, March 30, 2016

Seed Starting 101

I was asked from my previous post how the seedling boxes work so here goes.
There are different types of seed- starting flats available to us, the general population. Most can be found at you local home goods store and are generally produced by Burpee or Jiffy (at least where I live.)

Burpee seed- starting flats usually come in 36 cell and 72 cell size with a plastic clear lid. I've found that you have to purchase the starting soil separately but this may not always be the case. Here's a link to one of their mixes.

Jiffy seed starting flats are similar to Burpee's but I've found that they also include the pellets in their flats which makes it easy. You can also purchase their soil in bags as well.

Here's another source that I have used in the past as they have a lot of items like what we need here at reasonable prices.

Another solution is to purchase your own soil block makers and either mix up your soil yourself (more on this in a minute) or purchase some, say from Johnny's Seeds which has a fine seed- starting mix for soil blocks. I did a post about this some time ago and after looking, it is here. I can't get Johnny's site up right now but after looking at that post I used their stuff that year. If you want to do your own dirt mixture, I have used peat moss, compost (can be bought in bags at the home center) and perlite or vermiculite. I find perlite easier to find so I use it. I judge the ratio of 5 cups peat, 5 cups compost, and maybe 1 cup perlite. Mix it up and wet it down. It should form a ball in you hand when done. One note, screen the compost and peat moss to get rid of BIG pieces.

And there is the venerable peat pot. This you fill with your seed- starting soil, plant your seeds, then when ready plant the whole thing in your garden. Jiffy makes there as well as Burpee and I'm sure others.

Pour your seed- starting dirt in and fill them to the top. I then like to water them down with luke- warm water. Then I label, seed, and cover. Another note: Do not, and I repeat, do not use garden soil or dirt from the yard. Always use seed- starting soil for the best results.

Some seeds require darkness to germinate but most don't They do require warmth though. I had success early this year before setting up my light stand by putting the covered flats on a table by a window. Not the best but they got going. If you don't have that situation I've known people to set the flats on top of their fridge. My light stand consists of shoved- together 1/2" pvc pipe, 3/16" plywood, a few hooks and 2 bulb regular lights. You can go crazy and buy one with special bulbs, etc but mine works well for me at less then half the cost. Here's a link to the finished product. Another item you can use is a heat mat under the flats. I've never used one but if you don't have the interior warmth for your new seeds this may be an option. Don't use a heating pad. You'll burn your house down or shock yourself.

Honestly that's about all there is to it. I did a quick You Tube video search and found a decent one to watch.

All I can say is that it's fun to watch something grow by your own hands, especially if you can later pick, eat, and can your efforts later :) This is not by any means an all- knowing post but it was requested and I offered. There are links on the site to various seed companies if you want to cruise them.

Need to get back of WOF of the Week and maybe throw in Spoiled Cat here and there. I will have a good post this coming weekend. Have some transferring to do, get tiller working properly and finish tilling field, weeding and working upstairs. Never ends. Until next time get your hands dirty.

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