Plant Parenting: Seed Sowing Tips

March 29, 2020

Seed Starting Success

When you are first starting out, sowing seeds can be tricky & scary. Here's a few tips to help get you started successfully:

  • Check the seed packet for optimal germination seasons and temperatures to decide whether to start them early indoors, or direct seed them in the garden.
  • Check the seed pack to see if pre-soaking, scarification, or stratification is recommended or required (I explain all techniques in my book Plant Parenting).
  • Before planting seeds, be sure to thoroughly moisten the growing media, pellets, or plugs.
  • Plant your seeds at the depth recommended on the packet. Typically, you can plant larger seeds deeper and smaller ones more shallowly. You should sow some seeds, such as lettuce, on top of the soil and lightly press them down.

When sowing these pepper seeds, I placed two seeds per cell, approximately 1/2 inch beneath the soil surface.
PC: Leslie F. Halleck

  • Always make sure that containers (especially large ones) have drainage holes.
  • Maintain proper moisture for germinating seed by using a mister bottle. The addition of a thin layer of coir or vermiculite can also aid in keeping even moisture.

I added coir to the top of these seeds to help conserve moisture.
PC: Leslie F. Halleck

Keep in mind: you won’t always achieve 100 percent germination from a group of seeds, whether you buy new seeds or harvest and keep for the next season. You can sow two seeds per container, cell, or plug, so if one seed doesn’t germinate, you have a backup.

  • Use a humidity dome or other type of clear plastic cover to maintain high humidity around your germinating seeds, until seedlings have sprouted and started to grow their first set of true leaves.

If you want a more detailed tutorial on seed starting, be sure to check out my propagation book Plant Parenting!

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