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7 Essentials for Seed Starting Success

This year you’ve decided to start your flowers, herbs and vegetables from seed… indoors. You’ve picked out your seed packets and marked on the calendar when you need to get planting. You’ve picked up some quality seed starting soil. Is there anything else you need for seed starting sucess?

What equipment will set you up for seed starting success?

Here is a list of some additional “equipment” to set you up for seed starting success!

  • Peat Pots: Peat pots are useful because you can plant the whole pot or cell when transplanting, reducing the risk of root shock and damage.
  • Conventional Flats: These are available in many sizes, some with removable cells. If space is an issue, they provide maximum efficiency for space.
  • Humidity Dome: It is mandatory to provide humidity to young seedlings. A dome protects against temperature fluctuations.
  • Fluorescent light: Light is a key component to growing plants from seed. Seedlings get long and stringy if there’s not enough light or too much heat. Use a cool white 40-watt bulb or a specially designed grow light. Seedlings should get 12-14 hours of light a day. Bulbs should hang no more than 3 inches from the top of the seedlings. Do not put the seedlings under lights or sunlight until cotyledons (aka “baby leaves”) have been out of soil for at least 1 day. This may burn the tender tissues of your new seedling. (Note, today’s LED lights tend to run cooler, which can help reduce burning.)
  • Heat Mat: Seeds need soil temps to be between 65-75 degrees to germinate. Using a heat mat increases germination rates.
  • Water: When planting seeds make sure your soil medium is wet but not soggy. Never let your seeds dry out, and never drown them in too much water. Soil should be moist to the touch. It is best to water in the morning. If your water contains chlorine, let it stand overnight before using. You may want to use a water mister to avoid over-watering.
  • Drip Tray: The drip tray is placed under your flat to conveniently collect water and to water plants from the bottom to prevent damage to tender plants.

Spring is just around the corner. Happy Planting!


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