Choosing your Seeds
There are a variety of different ways to purchase seeds including nurseries, garden supply stores, or online and depending on their rarity, the price may vary significantly. Typically hybrids, organic, and rare seeds such as purple watermelon seeds or strawberry-kiwi seeds command a higher price than broccoli and cauliflower seeds. Most name brand seeds will come with detailed instructions, along with care information. A rule of thumb when it comes to picking seeds is “the fresher the seeds, the more likely they are to grow.” When browsing for seeds, each packet will feature a label to identify their different traits, which includes one of the four following characteristics:
H-Heritage: To preserve their genetic diversity for future generations, these seeds are passed down in order to save their unique traits.
U-Untreated: Seeds produced from plants without the use of fertilizers or pesticides.
OP-Open Pollinated: Seeds that can Produce themselves, which can be dried out and stored.
O-Organic: Seeds produced from organically grown plants.
For those who are unfamiliar with seeds, it’s important to never bite off more than you can chew, which is why you should only take on a dozen or so plants.
Some plants may take between 65 and 85 days to mature.
Choose your Containers Wisely
As soon as you decide which seeds you want to grow, you should then select your growing containers. You initially should plant your seeds in small individual containers such as a plastic pot. Plastic pots or recycled yogurt cups retain moisture better, which is why they’re preferred over clay pots.
In the past, if you previously had trouble transferring seedlings, you could try using a paper cup, peat pot, or toilet paper roll instead, which will eventually break down into your compost and disappear.
Whichever container you choose to use, you first should make sure it’s sterilized and pathogen-free. In order to sanitize your container, you should mix one part bleach and 9 parts water and let the container soak in the solution for 9 to 15 minutes. The water-bleach solution will wash away dirt and debris and kill any fungus or bacteria.
After you sterilize your pots, you should make small punctures in the bottom of each container, then place them in a waterproof tray, which allows the water to drain, but also ensures the soil retains its moisture.
Where to Place the Seeds
In order for your seeds to germinate and produce strong roots, you should store them in temperatures above 65 degrees. You should avoid areas that produce excess heat or cold temperatures. When the soil is too cool, it can lead to a fungal infection and too much heat can dry out your soil and kill your seeds. A basement or enclosed porch is always an ideal place to grow seeds.
Preparing your Soil
Seeds require plenty of nutrients in order to germinate properly, for this I recommend using starter soil, which is usually made almost entirely of peat moss blended with vermiculite. The soil you use should always be pre-moistened,which should be
mixed with the starter soil. Your soil should always remain moist, but it should never be soaking wet. After you pour the soil mixture into your container, be sure to gently press it down to remove any air pockets from forming.
How to Sow your Seeds Properly
I’m sure many of you have heard of “sowing your seeds,” but have no idea what the term means. Sowing is just another way of saying “planting.” In order to sow your seeds properly, you should poke 3 or 4 holes into the center of the soil, lay out your seeds, then gently cover the seeds with soil.
Depending on which seeds you choose, they may require sunlight in order to germinate. For seeds that require sunlight, you could cover them with a thin layer of vermiculite or wood chips.