Prepare for your next gardening season by adding these seeding tips to your checklist to make transplanting easier!
We've broken the process down into 3 steps: Sowing, Transplanting, and Aftercare. That way, you can take your time with each step and incorporate some of these tips for the next planting season!
1. Choose Quality Seeds
Select high-quality organic seeds from reputable sources. Look for the expiration date and choose seeds that are still viable.
2. Select the Right Containers
Use seed trays or small pots with drainage holes to avoid waterlogging. Alternatively, you can use biodegradable peat trays that can be planted directly in the soil. Vego Garden offers seedling trays made of injection-molded PPE plastic. The seedling trays have eight growing cells with air-pruning cutting strips on the sides of each cell, as well as individual drainage holes and a drip irrigation channel. If you've ever transplanted seeds before, you know how important this is to prevent root bindings, transplant shock, and seed displacement from irrigation.
3. Use Good-Quality Seed Starting Mix
Regular garden soil is not suitable for seed starting. Instead, use a sterile seed starting mix, which is light, well-draining, and free from diseases.
4. Moisten the Seed Starting Mix
Moisten the seed mix before you plant the seed. Make sure it's evenly moist but not soggy. Proper seeding trays are important because they allow for adequate watering while preventing the seeds from being misplaced.
5. Plant at the Correct Depth
Follow the instructions on the seed packet to determine the proper sowing depth. Generally, small seeds are sown shallowly, while larger seeds can be planted deeper. It helps to have a ruler handy, or even better, the Vego Garden 10-in1 Hori Hori knife, which combines a ruler, a shovel, and a knife!
6. Provide Adequate Light
Place the seed trays in a location with bright, indirect light. Consider using artificial grow lights if natural light is insufficient.
7. Maintain Optimal Temperature
Most seeds germinate best at a specific temperature range. Use a seedling heat mat if necessary to provide consistent warmth.
8. Keep Moisture Levels Consistent
Check the moisture levels daily and water gently using a misting spray or a watering can with a fine spout.
9. Thin Seedlings
Once the seedlings have grown a few true leaves, thin them out to ensure proper spacing and adequate airflow to prevent disease.
1. Harden Off Seedlings
Before transplanting, acclimate your seedlings to outdoor conditions gradually. Start by placing them in a sheltered spot outdoors for a few hours each day, gradually increasing the time over several days. Being gentle with your seedlings is important.
2. Choose the Right TimingTransplant seedlings when they have developed strong root systems and are not too tender. Typically, this is when they have a few sets of true leaves.
3. Select the Proper Transplanting Location
Choose a site with appropriate sunlight, soil type, and drainage for the specific plant species. Raised garden beds are your best option since they are low maintenance, trap moisture in the ground, and are cost-effective plus, your plants have a lot of space to take root.
4. Prepare the Planting Hole
Dig a hole slightly larger than the root ball of the seedling. Add some compost or balanced fertilizer to the soil to provide nutrients to your seedlings. Check to see if your seedlings have any specific soil requirements, such as pH or compaction.
5. Handle Seedlings with Care
Avoid touching the stem directly, as seedlings are delicate. Instead, hold them by the leaves when transplanting.
6. Water the Seedlings
Water the seedlings in their original containers before transplanting to reduce transplant shock. And make sure the soil is watered and ready to take in your seedlings.
7. Plant at the Correct Depth
Make sure the seedlings are planted at the same depth they were in their original containers.
8. Water After Transplanting
Give the newly transplanted seedlings a gentle watering to help settle the soil around the roots
9. Protect from Harsh Conditions
If the weather is harsh, protect the newly transplanted seedlings with shade cloth, row covers, or cloches until they establish themselves. This is why is important to acclimatize them to the outside climate weeks before doing the transplant.
1. Provide Proper Lighting
Place your seedlings in a location with bright, indirect sunlight. If natural light is limited, consider using artificial grow lights to supplement their needs.
2. Water Wisely
Keep the soil consistently moist but not waterlogged. Use a gentle watering method to avoid disturbing the delicate seedlings and ensure even moisture distribution. For best results use seedling trays that drain easily.
3. Maintain Adequate Airflow
Good air circulation helps prevent fungal diseases. Use a small fan on a low setting or provide enough space between seedlings to promote airflow.
4. Avoid Overcrowding
Transplant seedlings if they outgrow their containers to prevent competition for nutrients and space. Proper spacing allows each plant to thrive in your garden bed, letting the roots expand and settle comfortably.
5. Use Proper Fertilizer
Choose a fertilizer with minerals that won't attack and burn your plants too much and that is organic; add worm compost to the mixture for better yields. Start fertilizing when the first true leaves appear.
6. Protect from Pests
Inspect seedlings regularly for signs of pests or diseases. If you find any, check the internet for home remedies and organic solutions to keep your garden poison-free.
7. Harden Off Before Transplanting
We’ve covered this in the sowing section, but we will repeat it because it is important. Gradually acclimate seedlings to outdoor conditions before transplanting. Expose them to increasing periods of outdoor light and temperature over a week before transplanting.
8. Monitor Temperature and Humidity
Maintain consistent temperatures and humidity levels for your seedlings and avoid exposing seedlings to extreme temperature fluctuations.
9. Label and Record
Keep track of the seedlings' varieties and planting dates. Proper labeling and record-keeping help you stay organized and track each plant's progress.
Final thoughtsRemember that growing your own seeds from seedling trays takes time and commitment, and if you aren't willing to take care of your plants’ needs, it’s likely you won’t see positive results.