Before starting your seeds this year, remember a few key things.
I can’t believe it’s already time to start seedlings. Is it just me or did the first quarter of the year just fly by?! Before you begin planting your seeds this year, I want to make sure you aren’t forgetting a few key things that will help you and your seedlings this year.
Select the correct seeds
I’m a novice gardener, but I noticed quickly how overwhelming just selecting seeds was. Heirloom, organic, name brand, off brand, local, order online – it was mind blowing how many options are available to us today. There are three main “types” I have found in all my research – heirloom, organic and open-pollinated seeds.
Heirloom describes a seed’s lineage. Usually, heirloom seeds are seeds saved and passed down for generations. They are also typically open-pollinated, meaning the plant is pollinated by birds, bees, and sometimes even the wind. These plants are generally considered hearty and adapt well to your growing conditions.
Organic seeds means the plant to seed came from was produced using federally recognized organic practices. This generally means to pesticides or no genetically modified organism farming practices. A major pro to buying organic seeds is that you’re guaranteed to get the heartiest seeds. Organic seeds are notorious for being able to survive pests and adapt quickly to your garden. Definitely something worth considering for seed saving if you’re able to grow a good crop using organic seeds.
Like we’ve stated, open-pollinated seeds are pollinated in uncontrolled ways. Some say lettuce, tomato, beans and peas are all open-pollinated plants. In my opinion, the distinction seems somewhat trivial because its heavily marketed across heirloom-type seeds. Very easy to get the two confused.
Triple check your dates – specifically frost dates!
There’s a little bit of a schedule that goes in to starting seeds. The most important date on anyone’s calendar being the frost date! Take note of how long germination takes for each seed you plant, consider a gap for transferring either to a bigger planter or outside, and then plant outside after danger of frost has passed.
Clean your materials prior to starting your plants!
Last year, I had snow mold spread from a single squash plant to almost all of my pumpkins. Plant diseases are nothing to trifle with! Thoroughly clean your seedling trays with soap and water to ensure last season’s growth (of all kinds) stays in last season!
Set up a grow station
I tried (and failed) to germinate seedlings with natural light from my front windows. So this year, I’ll be erecting a grow station in my kitchen in hopes of having much more success germinating seedlings. I’ll be sure to note things like how close my grow lights are to my seedlings and how humid their growing conditions are. Taking notes is never a bad idea!
Remember direct sowing is an option
After my failure to germinate in 2022, I ended up direct sowing quite a few seeds in my garden. With great success! My gardening season was cut short because I couldn’t begin germinating indoors while it was still cold outside, but I was able to grow okra, lettuce, zucchini, corn and quite a few different kinds of squash.
Do you have any tips for starting seedlings? Tell me about them on Facebook and Instagram! If you’re looking for helpful gear to start your seedlings, I highly recommend seed starting trays (I tried to find mine on Amazon and couldn’t – these are the closest option!) and Burpee organic seeds (Amazon is only marketing Burpee Heirloom seeds.)