Seed Sowing is a pastime that many people enjoy. To be successful though, there are a few rules that will make the job much easier and fruitful.
Most often, growers tend to get carried away once the warmer weather begins. Mid March is still too early to start many plants. Seed sowing should be done according to the time that you will be ablre to plant outdoors. It will not help you if you have lots of leggy, weak and misshapen seedlings to put out in the garden, because most of them will not make it. All of your time and effort is for naught.
So What’s the Secret?
My belief is that there are 5 most important keys to successful seed sowing. So let’s take a look at my list.
1. Timing, if you are starting tomatoes plants that will only go out in the garden in two months time, then it is too early to start them now. The seed will bolt in the warmth of the house, and then because it is not getting enough light and warmth, they will grow long and leggy without any strength in their stems to hold them up. Unless you have a grow light operation in your home, this is not the right time to grow tomatoes. You can grow Marigolds, Zinnia, Coleus and many other non-vegetable seeds and they will be fine. So if you are unable to hold yourself back from sowing seeds, go for the flowers first.
2. Light, as I mentioned in #1, unless you have lots of grow lights for your vegetable seeds, it is too early. If you have invested in heat mats and grow lights then you are safe to start your tomatoes now. The heat from the mats will keep the ground warm and the lights on timers will give the seedlings at least 8 hours of uninterrupted light so they will grow tall and straight. Keep the lights just above the pot level, until you see signs of growth and then moving them away as the seedlings start to sprout. Your lights should be adjustable so that the seedlings get the best light possible.
3. Good potting soil for seedlings or a soilless mix. Ground from the garden is not ideal for sprouting seeds. There may be insects harbored within and when you start to grow your seeds all of a sudden you have all kinds of pests too! Do not scrimp on your potting medium.
4. Clean pots are essential. You can reuse old pots, but make sure you have cleaned the well before using them for your seedlings. A pot that has been bused before may be harboring some fungus or pests. All the work you did will be wasted when the seedlings come up and then whither because of some disease hidden in a dirty pot.
5. Know what your are planting and what conditions those plants like. A good garden encyclopedia or guide is a valuable tool. I like to have mine in book format as I don’t have a computer handy where I have my seedlings. If you have an iPad or easy access to the internet you can find all that information on the web. But if not, a book is handy too and you can look at all the nice pictures as well.
Gardening is a science, but it should also be fun. Children and grandchildren will enjoy the time they spend with you learning all the different things that make gardening successful and fruitful too. When the time is right, and the tomatoes you planted are ready to bear fruit, all your work will have paid off. There is nothing as nice as a fresh tomato from your garden that you planted with your own two hands.
Everyone can be successful with Seed Sowing if they follow these 5 rules to success!