Last fall we shared how to save you flower seeds like Zinnia’s and now is the time to start those seeds for this year’s beautiful blooms.
Starting seeds for you garden and flower beds:
- Start with cleaned large non-perforated trays and cell packs or small trays
- You can use either soil or soilless mediums
- Fill your cell packs or small trays with medium
- Make small holes about ¼ depth of soil, drop your seed in, and cover with dirt
- Place your cell packs/small trays into the large non-perforated tray
- Fill your non-perforated tray with about 1/3 water. * The water in tray will wick through the holes in cell pack/ small trays for your seeds to germinate. This is also a great way to water your new plants from the bottom up and remember to let the water get absorbed and only add enough water that the plants will draw up in about 5 minutes.
- Cover the tray with a sheet of clear plastic wrap that you have in the kitchen
- Place the tray in an area that is warm so the seeds will germinate. *Light is not important for seeds to germinate
- When the seeds start to break ground, immediately remove the plastic and place in sunniest spot you have in your home or under a plant light. *Your plants will grow leggy if they do not receive enough light.
- If you use a soilless medium, there’re not many nutrients in the soil so you may use a very diluted solution of fertilizer about every 4th watering after the seeds germinate and form 2 sets of leaves.
- Your plants will tell you what they need in terms of water or fertilizer by looking at the leaves and lushness of the plants.
Timelines for starting seeds for early harvests
- Peppers, wax begonias, impatiens and vincas should be started in early February
- Broccoli, cabbage, cauliflower should be started in mid-March for planting in the garden on April
- Tomatoes, pumpkins, squash and cucumbers should be started in early April for planting in garden in late May/ early June.
If you start plants too soon they will become leggy. If you do have leggy tomato plants, trim the bottom set of leaves and plant the plants all the way into soil up to the second set of leaves. Anywhere the stem contacts the soil, roots will grow helping the plants absorb nutrients from the soil.
- Snap dragons, zinnias, marigolds and many other common annuals can be started in early April to provide earlier blooms but you can always plant the seeds directly in your beds around the beginning of May.