By now you’ve looked through the first box of Seed Plant Bloom, my organic gardening subscription box. Oh, you haven’t order yours yet? Check it out here –>> Seed Plant Bloom. In that first box were 3-10 different seed packets personally selected for you based on your gardening zone and experience level. Also included were earthworm castings, garden gifts like gloves and a plantable seed card, plus tip sheets on how to use everything in your box. Now that your have your first set of seeds, let’s learn how to grow plants from seeds. I love this part!
Disclosure: This post not only talks about growing plants from seeds, but also has Affiliate Links that I earn commissions from. This is how I make a living and keep this little blog running. Thank you for supporting me! I appreciate it. Much love, Kristi.
I absolutely love to grow plants from seeds! I feel like a proud mama when I see those little babies germinate and grow. It sure teaches me patience, which I am in low supply of. Plus, the cost savings is huge compared to buying individual plants at the gardening center. A packet of 50-100 seeds usually costs under $3.00 whereas one 4″ transplant is $3.50 or a 6-pack is $4. In Alaska, a 6″ annual plant costs you $10!!! I also like to grow a lot of different types of plants and if I only bought them at the store, I’d be very limited in my choices. Right now I have 3 types of spinach growing and 7 types of lettuce!
1. Start with Great Seeds
Where you source your seeds from really does matter.
Not all seeds are created equal. Some have been treated with pesticides and other chemicals to help them grow. Your best bet is to buy Organic, Non-GMO (not scientifically modified), or Heirloom seeds. Seriously, start with great seeds to grow healthy, nutritious plants. Honestly, if you don’t, what’s the point of growing your own food???
There are seed companies that specialize in each growing region and others grow seeds that will germinate in all plant zones. Look at the varieties that work best in your planting zone (find yours here), or ones that you would love to try.
In the Just Seeds Only Please subscription, you receive only Organic, Heirloom, or non-GMO seeds from reputable growers.
Here’s a look into the first Seed Plant Bloom organic gardening subscription box and my two trays of seedlings. I found true leaves towards the end of the video and I was like a little kid!
2. Plant in Great Soil and Seedling Mix
This one is harder for people to trust me on. Soil matters… every potting soil on the market is different. If your garden is blessed with great soil, you are lucky! Most people have to add different organic material to make their soil better and some just use potting soil.
Cheap potting soils tend to be heavier and have poor drainage. Soils like MiracleGro that have added synthetic fertilizers will grow well to begin with. But then the plant realizes its on crack and will need more and more of that fertilizer and it doesn’t often produce the fruit that you want. When it does, you are eating a fruit or vegetable that is loaded with chemicals. Gross. Plus that stuff is terrible in water runoff and hurts the environment.
Often times the best soil is the most expensive. If you can, invest in good soil as it will reward you over and over. It should have a good mixture of peat moss, compost, vermiculate or perlite, and a bit of sandy loam.
I love everything by FoxFarm – they are one of the best potting soil companies out there!
Seedling Soil Mix
Seedlings are susceptible to different fungus like damping off and other diseases that will kill them off. Having with a sterile seedling mix is essential. You can also start with a mix of peat moss, earthworm castings, and perlite. Do not use regular garden soil or potting soil as it still has decaying matter in it that most seeds will not grow well in it.
I’ve used Black Gold for years. I will be honest though, I wasn’t excited to see little pieces of bark in this last bag I bought. It looks like they’ve changed their formulation. I’m going to write them and see what’s up.
I will say 80% of my seeds germinated, but I did have some damping off.
My favorite is to use just earthworm castings. Seedlings love it and the earthworm castings will give much needed nutrients to the plants when they are in the early stages of growth.
A good seed starting tray is nice when you are sowing a ton of seeds.
If your seedlings start to droop over in the seedling tray or you notice a fungus or mold growing, grab cinnamon. Sprinkle the cinnamon onto the soil and gently shake it off of the seedlings. Cinnamon has natural anti-fungal properties and will help with damping off.
Have a fan gently blowing on the seeds so that their is good air circulation. Stagnant air can breed fungus on the seedlings.
3. When to Sow Directly into the Garden
Not all seeds should be started indoors in seedling trays, they should be directly planted into the garden. A good rule of thumb is that any root vegetable must be sown directly into the garden bed.
Direct Sow these seeds into the garden: Carrots, parsnips, potatoes, radishes, and turnips need to be seeded into the garden. Also, sunflowers don’t like to be moved so sow the seeds where you want them to grow.
Check the seed packet as it will say if you can start the plant indoors or outside, each variety is different. When planting directly into the garden soil or in a raised bed, add a couple cups of Earthworm Castings, plus a cup of Bone Meal and Blood Meal to the soil. Lightly work it in, it needs to stay closer to the surface and not be buried too far down. This gives your new seeds and transplants the fertilizer they need to grow big and strong right away.
4. How Deep to Sow Your Seeds
Whether you are growing in a seed tray or directly sowing your seeds into the garden, there is a general rule of thumb on how deep to sow your seeds. The depth should be no more than 3 times the diameter of the seed. If you are sowing tiny lettuce seeds you can use the tip of a pencil and place a small divet into the seedling mix. Add 1-2 seeds per hole and gently sprinkle soil on top of them. Larger seeds like peas need to be planted closer to a half-inch to an inch down.
Do not water heavily from above or you will wash away your seeds! When using a seedling tray, add water to the bottom of the tray and the soil will wick it up to the seeds. You can use a spray bottle and gently water the top of the soil.
In the garden, use the soft waterfall stream setting on your hose adapter for the first week of watering your seeds. Never let your seeds dry out as that could stunt the growth of the plant or kill off the seeds.
This garden nozzle has 8 settings – one that is perfect for seedlings.
5. To Thin or Not to Thin
When I plant directly into the garden I tend not to thin my plants. Rather, I sow the seeds really close together in a row and give them space on the sides. I want them to grow vertically and really use the garden space well. I will pluck some of the smaller plants to use in baby green salads and such. The plants will grow up and find the light – trust me. Survival of the fittest at work!
Have questions on how to grow from seeds? Join my new Facebook group Bloom Chat and ask anything. You can leave a comment right here too and I am happy to answer your gardening questions. I would love it if you were to sign-up for my gardening subscription box – it is my heart’s passion project!
You might also like this gardening post: Ready to Start a Garden? Here’s What You Need.
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