Seed Raising Essentials
~ THE LITTLE LESSONS LEARNT ALONG THE WAY ~
1. USE A QUALITY SEED RAISING MIX
A 'Seed Raising Mix' is especially formulated for growing seeds in and contains a balance of nutrients and minerals that is needed to give your seeds their very best start. Unlike 'Potting Mix' which may contain rather large and chunky pieces of bark, 'Seed Raising Mix' is of a much lighter and finer texture that is suited for raising seeds in. Soil from the garden may contain pests and bacteria that could be detrimental to your seeds, so for best results, always use a seed raising mix. You can find a quality 'Seed Raising Mix' at any good nursery or garden centre. That said, you can also make your own homemade seed raising mix... here is an excellent recipe from Milkwod Permaculture: 'How to make 'Best Ever Seed Raising Mix'.
2. SOW YOUR SEEDS AT THE RIGHT TIME
This tip may seem quite obvious, but we wanted to mention this as it is quite an important one... For example if you sow your seeds out of season, they may just lay dormant and you could easily give up on them. In reality, you could sow your seeds at any time. They will lay in the soil dormant until the time and conditions are right for them to germinate... but, a lot can happen until that time comes around, for example pests, birds or wildlife, too much moisture, not enough moisture, extreme temperatures, etc. could destroy your seeds.
For the reasons stated above, we always prefer to start seeds indoors whenever possible. You will have a far higher success rate if you can grow your seeds in a controlled environment where you can give them the care and attention that they require.
By starting seeds indoors you can extend the growing season by growing your seedlings earlier than you would outdoors due to frosts or bad weather conditions. Not all seeds are best started indoors. Some varieties that do best when sown directly into their final growing position are corn, poppies, sweet pea, pea and beans, as well as many herbs.
4. FOLLOW THE GROWING INSTRUCTIONS
As we mentioned previously, all seeds are different and many require special treatment. By reading and following growing instructions, you can give your baby seeds the best care that they need and you will be well on the way to growing an abundance of healthy seedlings. You can find our detailed growing instructions for all our seeds on the product pages (below the description) of our seed shop website at jardindefleur.com.
While you can practically use any type of container to raise your seeds in, we have found plastic pots and seed cell trays to be the most practical. These have the advantage that they can be reused time and time again... Be sure to thoroughly wash your plastic pots and containers with each use. This will prevent the spread of any bacteria, pests or plant diseases.
It is important to keep your seedlings well watered. The soil should be moist but not too wet as well as being free draining. We tend to water the soil in our pots and trays just before we sow our seeds into them. This also prevents seeds getting displaced or washed away. When sowing the tiniest of seeds it is good practice to water carefully by using a mist spray bottle.
If you are not sure how much to water your seeds, you can place your containers in a tray filled with a small quantity of water so that the seeds are watered from below. This can be done after you have sown your seeds in the already moistened seed raising mix. It is a great way to keep the soil moist, but we recommend that you keep checking that the top layer of soil does not dry out.
Keep in mind that some seedlings don't like 'wet feet', so this may not be a suitable approach to watering for all your seedlings. You can always water seeds from below until they sprout and then continue to water them from above after they have sprouted.
7. KEEP YOUR SEEDS WARM
Some seeds require warmth or for the soil to reach a certain temperature for them to germinate. Keeping your seeds in a warm position and away from any drafts will be highly beneficial. When given the right conditions you will find that your baby seedlings will flourish
8. HAVE FUN!
Although growing from seed may come with some challenges... at the end of the day it's great to have a good giggle, share stories of our triumphs, mishaps and adventures and most of all, have lots of fun enjoying all the beautiful blooms of our labour.
Happy seed raising!